Third Space proposal imagines accessible education programs

September 14, 2021 by  
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Studio Saar has teamed up with  Dharohar , a non-profit that runs science workshops and school programs, to unveil the design for a new accessible learning center in Udaipur, Rajasthan,  India . Known as Third Space: The Haveli of Curiosity, this learning and cultural center will support leisure, cultural and educational programs and provide high-quality facilities for learning, socializing and performing arts. Already, Dharohar works with between 30 and 40 schools each year to facilitate programs that support student academic and extracurricular enrichment. Once open, Third Space will have enough space to accommodate 2,000 visitors each day for activities, workshops and laboratories. It will also include a theatre for film screenings and talks, a cafe, shop and store. The proposed plans for the center are inspired by traditional Haveli  courtyard  homes and position trees as wayfinders for visitors. Related: Walk to work at this eco-friendly office tower in India Construction materials will include local white  marble  cut using water jet techniques to create ventilation screens and projecting wind catchers for enhanced passive cooling. The off-cut marble screen waste will be used to create floor tiles and wall masonry on the ground floor. Even the  waste  from marble dust will be used in the concrete mix to reduce cement and sand content, resulting in a whiter finish.  The center will also feature a  rooftop garden  with play spaces for children shaded with tensile fabric and a steel system to limit the use of concrete. The building site is situated adjacent to a 123-acre reforested jungle to provide hands-on opportunities to learn about nature, monitor flora and fauna and connect the community to the local ecosystems.  “Working on Third Space has been an incredibly exciting and rewarding journey so far,” said Jonny Buckland of Studio Saar. “It was a joy to draw inspiration from architectural heritage of Rajasthan and have the freedom to reimagine it. A key challenge for us was interpreting this complex brief and being able to bind the multiple uses into a single coherent building.” Construction for the project commenced in December of 2020 and is expected to be completed by  Spring  2023. + Studio Saar Images © Hayes Davidson and Mir

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Third Space proposal imagines accessible education programs

ODA’s vibrant new complex transforms a conventional DC block

September 8, 2021 by  
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West Half by ODA New York is a multi-use complex that combines architecture, interior design and landscape design to promote environmentally-friendly construction and harness a sense of community. Located in Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard, the 10-story project takes up a full city block and consists of 465 apartments, outdoor terraces and an inner courtyard, among several other amenities. While the top eight levels are strictly residential, the bottom two connect with the community at the street level through restaurants and retail. The building consists of volumes with bright yellow underbellies that playfully cantilever off each other in a horseshoe around a central courtyard. This push and pull effect creates terraces and balconies with views directed north towards the Capitol Building and south to Nationals Park. Since the floors are stacked to maximize the number of terraces and enhance the cascading effect of the pop-outs, the facade tapers in towards the courtyard as it ascends, creating a similar effect to the ballpark stands in the Nationals stadium close by. Related: Green terraces intersect a mixed-use tower in Shenzhen Innovative eco-friendly strategies make an appearance in the terraces and are the grounds for the building’s LEED Gold Certification. Cisterns harvest water to irrigate West Half’s many gardens. Extensive green roof systems cover 50% of the roof and require minimal irrigation and maintenance. Through the built-in planters on the roof and balconies, the facades grow and adapt to the changing seasons. The interior of the mixed-used development carefully considers human scale and experience. A rich material palette, natural light and optimal airflow have all been taken into consideration to make the spaces feel fresh and energetic. A blur between interior and exterior conditions is created through layers of transparency using floor-to-ceiling glazing and glass balustrades. JBG Smith, the developer, expressed that “the main challenge of the project was to develop an innovative approach that would comply with the strict Washington D.C. regulations for privately developed buildings, while creating something iconic for the neighborhood .” Because of the bustling surroundings, ODA and JBG Smith wanted the development to encourage richer, collective experiences for residents, stadium visitors and tourists . “This building is an expression of what the future of urban living can be,” said Eran Chen, founder and chief architect at ODA. + ODA New York Images by Scott Frances

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Designing sustainable habitats at the San Diego Zoo

September 8, 2021 by  
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What’s more amazing, a tiny nectar-drinking  bird  that weighs less than a nickel and can fly backward, or a giant carnivorous lizard that can smell a dying animal up to six miles away? They’re both impressive, and now visitors to the San Diego Zoo can experience both hummingbirds and Komodo dragons in brand new habitats just steps away from each other. The two new  habitats  have been carefully designed, both from an eco-materials standpoint and considering what will make these creatures feel most at home. The hummingbirds can bathe in their choice of three water ponds, each using recycled water, or nest in green walls. Visitor benches are made from recycled plastic lumber. Komodo Kingdom features three distinct environments that wild dragons would enjoy — mountain highland, woodland and beach. The habitat also features heated caves and logs, pools and misters to replicate the hot and steamy environment of their native Indonesia. Related: San Diego Zoo successfully clones an endangered Przewalski’s horse There’s also an area of deep, soft sand for egg-laying. Zookeepers hope that Ratu, the female, and Satu, the male, will like each other enough to make baby lizards. Satu only arrived a few months ago, in time for the opening of Komodo Kingdom in June. The two haven’t met yet, and are currently being kept in separate parts of the enclosure. So what’s it like designing habitats for such diverse creatures as Komodo dragons and hummingbirds? Inhabitat talked to San Diego Zoo  architect  Vanessa Nevers to find out. Inhabitat: How did you go about researching the lifestyle and preferences of Komodo dragons? Nevers: San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Architecture and Planning department worked closely with our  wildlife  care experts to determine not only the needs of the Komodo dragon but also the ways that the habitat design would encourage natural behaviors such as digging, soaking in shallow waters and basking, to name a few. Inhabitat: What factors did you take into consideration when designing Komodo Kingdom from a materials standpoint? Nevers: For the Komodo habitats, getting enough UV  light  into the space is critical, as is maintaining the hot, humid environments that Komodo dragons thrive in. The roof and clerestory at the two indoor habitats consist of an ETFE [Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a recyclable plastic that’s 100 times lighter than glass] system that facilitates appropriate levels of UV transmission and climate control. Other factors to take into account for habitat design are soils and plantings that are safe for the Komodo dragons and allow for natural behaviors. Also, the ability to create sheltered areas and pools that are just the right size, heated rocks and elevated areas for basking is very important and is usually executed with shotcrete rockwork. Inhabitat: What are the main features of the hummingbird enclosure? Nevers: Interestingly, the features that make the Hummingbird Habitat great for birds also make it very pleasant for people. The central spatial feature is a semicircular cenote-themed shotcrete structure with fly-through openings and vertical plantings. This structure breaks up the experience into three spaces which also helps define territories for the birds. The flowing ponds and streams, as well as a built-in misting system, add ambiance but also provide ample bird bathing opportunities. And of course, the tropical  plantings  with big broad leaves and the nectar-producing plants are also essential and enjoyable for both birds and people. Inhabitat: How did sustainability affect your choice of building materials? Nevers:  Sustainability  is an important consideration in the selection of all building materials. For example, the ceilings at Komodo Kingdom and Hummingbird Habitat are clad with Accoya wood, and the interior and exterior walls at Hummingbird Habitat are clad with Moso [a type of bamboo]. Both Accoya wood and Moso are Forest Stewardship Council-certified products. The ETFE system, which has been awarded the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), is used at both Komodo Kingdom and Hummingbird Habitat. It has low levels of embodied energy and can be recycled at the end of its useful life into components used in the manufacture of new ETFE systems. Inhabitat: Did anything surprise you during the process? Nevers: Komodo dragons like it hot, really hot! Their native habitat in the islands of  Indonesia  is usually about 95 degrees Fahrenheit with 70% humidity. This doesn’t sound surprising on paper, but stepping into the indoor habitats in Komodo Kingdom shortly before the dragons moved in was like walking into a sauna. The Komodo dragons love it, but I felt like I was melting! Inhabitat: How does it feel to design habitats for rare and endangered creatures? Nevers: Amazing! Being part of a team that creates habitats that allow these  animals  to thrive is one of the two most rewarding aspects of my work. The other is creating opportunities for people to really appreciate how incredible all life is and the importance of sustaining healthy habitats around the world. Inhabitat: What would you like people to know about the work that you do? Nevers: Zoo architecture is so much more than the design and construction of buildings; it truly is the architecture of experience. From the range of habitat experiences for the animals to the experiences in the guest landscape, these are all part of a larger effort to foster relationships with nature in support of  conservation  for a healthy planet. + San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Images courtesy of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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A sustainable design response to Australia’s housing crisis

September 7, 2021 by  
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Designed by Jiri Lev of Atelier Jiri Lev, the Tasmanian House combines traditional and innovative approaches to architecture with local Tasmanian elements as a response to some of the area’s most pressing social issues. Lev is an architect focused on  community  values. Based in Tasmania and New South Wales, he highlights building design that is both sustainable and regionally appropriate. His expertise in education, heritage advising and legal proceedings add an important layer to his work with sacred and public architecture. Related: Off Grid House takes remote sustainability to new heights As such, Atelier Jiri Lev dedicates a significant portion of its work to pro bono and community building projects, often delivered via workshops and student engagement. Many of these projects are related to disaster recovery,  homelessness , community building and Australia’s housing crisis. The Tasmanian House is no exception — the building itself is a response to the country’s housing and environmental crisis to be sure, but with some impressive sustainable elements as well. For one, it uses sustainably sourced native timber and  sheep wool insulation , left raw, untreated and free from any paints or chemical treatments. Except for the metal components (and any furniture the owners decide to install inside), the Tasmanian House is designed to decompose and eventually become a certifiable organic garden at the end of its life thanks to the omission of synthetic materials during construction.  With unpainted plywood and a  corrugated steel  roof to match the building foundation and adjoining water tank, the design is modest without sacrificing convenience. The large bay windows bring ample light into the interior space, while the wood accents give off a minimalist, natural vibe. According to the designer, the private residence represents a contemporary interpretation of the Georgian period style, while maintaining the typical Tasmanian ability to “make the most out of quite little.” This is the first phase of a larger pavilion house meant to exist as either one or two independent residential units (a  studio  and a two-bedroom home) each with a private garden. The design helps demonstrate the state’s ability to become entirely self-sufficient when it comes to bulk construction materials. It also serves as a prototype for affordable and debt-free housing in Tasmania. The Phase I prototype home was completed in July 2021 and became open for public viewings in August 2021. + Atelier Jiri Lev Images courtesy of Atelier Jiri Lev

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A sustainable design response to Australia’s housing crisis

Extinction Rebellion protests take over London

August 24, 2021 by  
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On Monday, Extinction Rebellion (XR) protestors blocked a busy junction in Covent Garden, London during their first day of protests. Participants chained themselves together to block a roundabout at Long Acre. A van joined at the junction with a 4-meter-high pink table featuring the slogan “Come to the table.” As XR plans a fortnight of protests in London , this slogan represents their call to bring everyone to the table to discuss the climate crisis. Related: Extinction Rebellion LA protests climate change by supergluing themselves to Universal Globe In a statement, XR explained, “As floods, fire , and famine break out around the world, it is clear that climate breakdown is here now, and there is no choice left now but to take urgent action. Everyone deserves a seat at the table to have a say in how to tackle the greatest crisis of our times.” Protesters remained at the junction until 7 p.m. when the police began arresting participants. The police showed up with an order signed by Superintendent Wayne Matthews, who claimed the gathering “may result in serious disruption to the community.” The order was also shared via social media . In response, XR members targeted for arrest laid on the ground, forcing police officers to carry them away. Police claim to have arrested 52 protestors. One of the protestors told reporters that XR’s actions have already succeeded in raising awareness. “By taking these arguably drastic actions, I hope that it makes some of the passersby, or the people who read about it, think about why we are worried enough to do that and it conveys there really is something to worry about,” said activist Tristan Strange. According to the Metropolitan police, law enforcement will continue with a “policing plan” for continued XR protests. Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist has added that “his officers would not be deterred by a recent supreme court ruling” supporting highway obstruction as “a legitimate and lawful form of protest,” as reported by The Guardian. Via The Guardian Lead image via Extinction Rebellion U.K.

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Extinction Rebellion protests take over London

New environmental racism scorecard calls out ExxonMobil

August 24, 2021 by  
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The grading period has ended, and it’s time to find out who got the high scores and who’s failing the class. According to a new environmental racism  scorecard  released by shareholder advocacy group As You Sow,  ExxonMobil  came in last. In other words, an F minus. The group’s recent evaluation of the 500 largest publicly traded companies is an updated version of its March scorecard. The earlier version looked at 26 indicators of racial justice, such as workplace diversity and how often employees of color got choice promotions. But people criticized that version for not considering how these companies polluted nonwhite communities. Newly added criteria weigh whether a company acknowledges environmental justice  issues and researches any penalties it has incurred for pollution. Related: How to support environmental justice “We see the  environmental  and racial justice as completely linked,” said Olivia Knight, manager of  As You Sow’s  Racial Justice Initiative, as reported by Grist. “You can’t have racial justice without acknowledging and remedying environmental justice.” None of the 500 companies got an A, unless you grade on a curve set for very bad students. CVS and  Microsoft  tied for first place with a lousy 60%. This poor score is still higher than the energy sector, which averaged 3%. Seven companies managed to plummet into negative numbers. ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum and Valero Energy were in this tier of companies that have done so much harm to nonwhite and/or low-income communities that they couldn’t even make it to zero. For example, ExxonMobil’s crude oil refinery in Beaumont, Texas routinely fails to comply with the Clean Air Act. The majority-Black neighborhood nearby is breathing those carcinogens. “ Environmental racism  is built into their business plan,” Knight said. “They have allowed all of these environmental violations to become just business as usual.” The fossil fuel giant scored negative-23%. Then there’s Marathon Petroleum, whose oil refineries near southwest  Detroit  leak chemicals and release vapors that have increased asthma and cancer among Black and brown communities. Factor in its $1.5 billion in health, safety and environmental penalties since 2000, and you see why the company scored negative-17% on the scorecard. Will getting a failing score shame  fossil fuel  companies into cleaning up their acts? Some of them seem beyond shame. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed. Via Grist Lead image via Roy Luck

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New environmental racism scorecard calls out ExxonMobil

ESCAPE to this eco-friendly tiny living community in Tampa

August 11, 2021 by  
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Tiny living has become much more than a fad. It’s a way of life. Entire tiny living communities exist now, including the Tampa Bay Village. This community is designed to be eco-friendly. It’s a true community where outdoor spaces and chores are shared by all. ESCAPE Homes has introduced their first mid-century modern tiny home, built specifically for the expansion of Tampa Bay Village. ESCAPE Tampa Bay Village debuted in spring 2020. Soon, it’s expected to increase fourfold. The community will include a large pool and expanded outdoor living spaces. Dan Dobrowolski, founder of ESCAPE, says that business has “grown exponentially” as a result of COVID-19 . The village was designed to serve as a blueprint for a post-pandemic world, a community that provides eco-friendly tiny homes in a beautiful neighborhood setting. Related: These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant “The opportunity to work remotely, reduce the carbon footprint and still live in a beautiful home for a fraction of the cost, has energized people to consider tiny living,” says Dobrowolski. People of all ages and walks of life have come to ESCAPE Tampa Bay Village. They’re attracted to affordable living, simple upkeep and the community spirit of the place. The homes here have outdoor decks, and each home has its own space. These cozy, tiny homes are perfect for full-time living, but they can be vacation homes as well. The neighborhood is less than an hour away from Orlando , and it has easy access to the downtown Tampa area. Surrounded by the lush tropical landscape, these lovely tiny homes have everything homeowners need and no excess. Each home has plenty of windows to let in natural light, and there are many outdoor spaces for everyone to share to enjoy the Florida sun. The simple construction and minimalist design of each of these tiny homes create a modern, streamlined look that feels perfectly at home against the tropical plants and tall shade trees. But what makes these tiny homes so eco-friendly? Aside from tiny living’s inherently smaller footprint, ESCAPE’s homes also include energy-saving features such as LED lighting and thermopane windows. Some even incorporate solar power. + ESCAPE Tampa Bay Images via ESCAPE

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ESCAPE to this eco-friendly tiny living community in Tampa

New Oakville North additions put pedestrians first

July 27, 2021 by  
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Most master-planned communities take into account things like location to central services and inclusion of a gym, but North Oak at Oakvillage, a multiphase condominium development in Oakville, Canada, builds housing units while incorporating sustainable building practices, too.  Oakvillage is a pedestrian-first community with a focus on connecting to the nearby natural elements of the area. A scenic, 1.5 kilometer multipurpose trail is woven throughout the community. Moreover, onsite trails lead to 300 kilometers of additional trails as well as pristine forests and meadows surrounding Oakvillage. Residents can hit the Sixteen Mile Creek, Bronte Creek Natural Park and Lions Valley Park. In the future, the complex will connect to a planned restaurant and retail complex via a pedestrian-only trail. The master plan presented four phases of construction. With the first three phrases well received and sold out, Minto Communities, the building company behind the project, has launched North Oak Phase 4.  Related: A sustainable campus is built from 22 recycled shipping containers The project is exploring ways to build human and environmental health considerations into a multi-unit complex. This initial tower will debut the developer’s first multi-residential geoexchange energy system. Geoexchange is an energy-efficient way of tapping into Earth’s naturally stable underground temperatures. While it’s not new technology, in Canada and other areas, it has mostly been used for single-family residences. With a geoexchange system, there’s no need for extreme variations in order to heat or cool the air because it’s already temperature-controlled year-round. These systems have been shown to reduce carbon emissions as much as 70%, a particularly big environmental win for a multi-family space. “We’re thrilled to launch North Oak’s second tower, 4B, after the tremendous success of our launch of tower 4A earlier this year. North Oak is our first project to offer community energy through a geoexchange system and the response from purchasers so far has been positive,” said Roya Khaleeli, Director of Sustainability and Innovation for Minto Communities GTA. “Not only will residents benefit from this leading-edge technology, we know they’ll also benefit greatly from the wellness-inspired approach that’s seen through every touch point — from the walking paths and pedestrian prioritization to the beautiful gardens with native plantings and the bright interiors with natural materials and biophilic design incorporated throughout.” With the recent pandemic fresh in the minds of developers, they created a concept they call the “Neighbourhood Nest,” which is a centralized space with eye-catching architecture that will connect North Oak to the future tower next door. This area is designed for social gatherings and also serves as an emergency response center with back-up power, a communications system and refrigeration. Large glass walls provide natural light and further encourage the connection between inside and outside. At the lobby entrance, an expansive planter filled with native species greets residents. Just outside the building, green spaces and a pond are nestled into the landscape. Suites at North Oak are offered in one-bedroom, loft, two-bedroom and two-bedroom plus den options, with suites starting in the mid-$400s. + Minto Communities GTA Images via Minto Communities GTA

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New Oakville North additions put pedestrians first

Osokoa produces fun, playful organic children’s clothing

July 14, 2021 by  
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The year 2020 stands out as the year of the pandemic, and inasmuch, many people took advantage of opportunities to follow their dreams. Barcelona brand Osokoa stands as an example of how passion and determination gave birth to a longstanding vision of producing a premium, organic clothing line for children. The company describes itself as an “emotion brand”, a label it proudly wears in its gender-neutral clothing made from certified organic cotton . “Emotions and hopes go hand in hand. We make dreams in cotton, design smiles from the heart and bring together concepts in a way of dressing. Comfortable, quality, original, respectable, environmentally friendly and with a message!” Related: Mightly kids clothing is GOTS- and Fair Trade-certified That message is positivity, and it’s a theme woven throughout the product messaging. Osokoa explained, “Our collections ‘Self Esteem’ and ‘Hope’ were inspired by vitality, good energies and changes in the world, with big plans and positivity for the future.” The company’s mission is to take pride in the products it sells, with attention to a selection of natural materials , sustainable manufacturing and long-lasting garments. “We try with all our heart to give the best of ourselves and for that reason we have the invaluable help of smiles, joy and enthusiasm!” Let’s face it, the fashion world ranks near the top of the most damaging industries for the planet. Osokoa breaks away from the bad habits of fast fashion by starting with locally sourced, 100% organic, GOTS-certified cotton. It then relies on local, chemical-free manufacturing in the well-developed textile region in Barcelona. This minimizes transportation-related pollution and provides fair-trade jobs within the community. Osokoa also invests in ways to use minimal water and electricity in the process. Each decision along the process leans into choices that are best for the environment, right down to careful selection of the cardboard and other packaging the company uses. Almost all the materials used by Osokoa are recycled and can be reused. + Osokoa Photography by Gabitorohh Gabito via Osokoa

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Osokoa produces fun, playful organic children’s clothing

For Purpose Recycling debuts recycled ocean plastic utility belt

July 12, 2021 by  
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Aiming to put an end to ocean plastics while creating income opportunities for those who collect it, Australia-based company For Purpose Recycling is launching a unisex utility belt made of recycled ocean plastic collected from beaches of Indonesia . Each belt funds the prevention of 10 kilograms worth of plastic waste from entering the ocean (the equivalent of 50,000 single-use plastic bags), all while improving the lives of local community members. How does the business model work? The company builds cost-effective waste collection points within Indonesian coastal communities that lack access to basic waste services, giving locals the opportunity to sell the plastic waste they collect for a profit. What’s more, For Purpose Recycling also funds waste and environmental education programs with local institutions to create community outreach and empower community members. The company follows a circular model by reintroducing the recovered ocean-bound plastic waste into new, sustainable products: fashionable and functional utility belts. Related: A vision for an island made of plastic waste in the ocean According to For Purpose Recycling, although 39% of the total plastic waste in Indonesian cities is collected, only about 16% is collected in rural and remote areas. The company’s network of waste collection centers allows locals to exchange plastic waste for things like cash, school tuition and health insurance, adding a lucrative incentive to collect recyclable waste. It is increasing the recycling capacity in the areas as well by building more recycling infrastructure (in 2017, just 10% of the plastic generated in Indonesia was recycled). The For Purpose Recycling utility belts cost $46 (USD) each and come in four colors: Komodo Black, Jeruk Orange, Subak Green and Lolo Blue. Fully adjustable, minimal and fashioned from recycled polyester, the belts are made in China in a factory that’s certified as Global Recycled Standard by third-party certifier Textile Exchange. Once the belt has reached the end of its life, consumers can send it back to For Purpose Recycling to be recycled for store credit. For Purpose Recycling partners with local nonprofits with connections to the community to create a long-term impact, an aspect it hopes will help the company achieve its goal of preventing 1 million kilograms of plastic from entering the oceans by 2023. + For Purpose Recycling Images via For Purpose Recycling

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