Green-roofed Swiss homes promote solar via 65 degree rotation

March 30, 2021 by  
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In the Swiss municipality of Bussigny, Crissier-based architecture practice  Bertola & Cie – SIA  has completed the 65 Degree Group Housing project, a collection of low-energy housing units that are deliberately oriented at 65 degrees to optimize solar collection and to ensure private garden spaces for every dwelling. Created as an “alternative to densification,” the housing complex consists of a mix of simplex and duplex typologies that cater to a variety of residents across different generations. In addition to  solar  panels, the project further avoids dependence on fossil fuels and promotes healthy living with the inclusion of two air-to-water heat pumps, green roofs and a double-flow air mechanical ventilation system for reducing micropollutants.  Completed in 2020 after three years of development, the 65 Degree Group Housing project in West Bussigny was created as part of a larger development scheme to introduce 3,000 inhabitants to the area by 2030. At the heart of the architect’s design is the desire to create a village-like  community  where each resident can enjoy an outdoor balcony and green space for winter gardening.  “The architectural concept rigorously follows the will to mark volumes plastically in a suite or a repetition of units voluntarily marked on the street side so that the future inhabitants identify their dwellings not with a housing bar but with small houses of 3 levels joined together,” the architects said of their design intent. “The building thus develops linearly and parallel to the street over a distance of almost 100m. A grid structures the project and is reflected in the structure of the building for the stairwells and is identified by the structural entablature of the in-situ and  prefabricated  concrete terraces.” Related: Experimental prefab home eschews fossil fuels in Geneva Metal railings and clinker  brick  help break up the concrete facade along the southwest side of the housing complex, while light-toned wood surfaces line the light-filled interiors.  + Bertola & Cie – SIA Photography by Mathieu Gafsou

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Minimalist, low-carbon home features local wood and recycled concrete

March 9, 2021 by  
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Rural inspiration meets modern minimalism in Zürich-based Gus Wüstemann Architects ‘ recently completed Pavilion House, a barn-inspired gabled home that takes cues from the agricultural typology in Buchberg, a rural village near Switzerland’s largest city. Instead of building the new home out of stone and wood like most traditional farm buildings, the architects constructed the residence with a concrete frame and a pre-constructed timber roof. Mostly recycled concrete and locally sourced wood were used to reduce the project’s carbon footprint . Inspired by the “pragmatism of the local building tradition,” the architects crafted a minimalist home that eschews ornamentation in favor of leaving the raw concrete and wood exposed. The architects also hid and minimized technical equipment and interior elements — such as recessing the lighting and constructing built-in benches — wherever possible to create clean sight lines. Related: Industrial modern Sawmill House is built from recycled concrete blocks The 484-square-foot family home comprises two floors and a basement. The concrete basement contains a dental practice, while the timber-and-concrete ground floor is given over to an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that connects seamlessly to the outdoors via massive glazed doors that slide open to create a spacious, open-air area reminiscent of a pavilion . The outdoor area is sheltered by the roof that, like the surrounding rural buildings, cantilevers out to all sides of the home and connects the living space with the surroundings. The sleeping zone, with four bedrooms, is located on the topmost floor that is entirely outfitted in timber for a warm and cozy feel. “The use of mostly recycled concrete and local wood enabled a modest carbon footprint,” explained the architects, noting the importance of craftsmanship in the project with a special thank you to the project’s late foreman Samuel Janser. “The rawness of the construction is a reference to the traditional pragmatic way of building; How is it built, no hierarchy of materials or esthetics. Simplicity is the way to go.” + Gus Wüstemann Architects Photography by Bruno Helbling via Gus Wüstemann Architects

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Mask Architects designs a cavernous luxury villa in Sardinia

March 4, 2021 by  
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European design firm Mask Architects has shared renderings of a proposed luxury villa that resembles a white, seaside café. Informed by local Sardinian architecture and digital modeling software, the project — dubbed the Villa G01 “Rock and Cave” special — has been proposed for one of the most exclusive areas of Northern Sardinia and celebrates indoor/outdoor living with a massive garden, spacious terraces and openings that offer panoramic views of the sea. Mask Architects’ Villa G01 is a new interpretation of the sculptural buildings designed by Jacques Couëlle, a self-taught French architect who was nicknamed “the architect of billionaires” after his luxurious and fanciful designs made from carved concrete. Like Antoni Gaudí , Couëlle followed a style of organic architecture that emphasizes a relationship with nature. Mask Architects seeks to build on Couëlle’s legacy in Sardinia by using modern computer modeling and robotic construction to achieve Villa G01’s sculptural and organic design. Related: Amazing dragon-inspired cliff house in Spain uses the Earth to stay cool The home’s curved concrete exterior shell evokes imagery of Sardinian rocks. Inspired by the natural voids created in these rocks through the process of erosion, the exterior curves inward to create sheltered outdoor terraces. The connection to nature is strengthened by the villa’s placement in a large garden landscaped with native trees, plants and stones. The outdoor area also includes an infinity pool that the architects say can be constructed from prefabricated , high-density polyurethane blocks using KUKA robotics milling. It would then be installed onsite with a special steel structure and a varnish of gelcoat. The conceptual seafront villa comprises five bedrooms with stunning views as well as a spacious living area that connects seamlessly to the outdoors via folding glass walls. An outdoor kitchen with a dining table, outdoor cinema and a sunbathing and multipurpose area arranged around the pool extend the footprint of the 4,000-square-meter home. + Mask Architects Images by Derya Genc / Genc Design Studio via Mask Architects

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Used face masks could be repurposed for making roads

February 5, 2021 by  
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A recent study published in the journal  Science of The Total Environment  has revealed that discarded, single-use face masks could be used to make stronger, cheaper roads. The study was conducted by researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia in a bid to find new ways to use disposed masks. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, tons of face masks have been thrown out, a situation that is worrying for a planet already overwhelmed with single-use plastics. Researchers said that they have developed a new material that integrates shredded single-use masks with recycled concrete. According to the study authors, approximately 6.8 billion masks are tossed each day. All of these masks could be beneficial if they are repurposed. Related: Discarded COVID-19 masks are now littering seas and oceans Roads have been made of recycled materials before . Professor and lead author Jie Li explained that results from the team’s experiments show how using recycled concrete aggregate with shredded face masks could actually lead to stronger roads. Li said that the masks could be used for up to two layers of a road. According to estimates, paving a two-lane road for 1 kilometer would require about 3 million face masks, equivalent to 93 tons of masks. This could ease the burden of waste on already overwhelmed landfills . Adding masks to recycled concrete aggregate could improve road durability, ductility and flexibility. Because masks are made of plastic, which does not degrade easily, the roads would last longer. When it comes to the cost of building and maintaining roads, the use of recycled masks could also be cheaper. Li noted that mining materials from a quarry would require $50 per ton, while a ton of the recycled concrete aggregate would cost about $26. While the cost of extracting masks from landfills and disinfecting them might be high, Li said that it is worth it. “Using face masks with recycled concrete aggregate as an alternative material would not only reduce pandemic-generated waste and the need for virgin materials but also reduce construction costs by about 30%,” Li explained. + Science of the Total Environment Via Fast Company Image via jplenio

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Reused teak and earthy stone make up a luxury Goan home with canal views

November 24, 2020 by  
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In the village of Solid in North Goa, international architecture practice SAV Architecture + Design has completed the Earth House, a luxury home of 700 square meters that makes the most of its lush, tropical surroundings. Set next to a canal lined with coconut trees, the expansive home has allowed the outdoors to shape its design, from the massing that’s built to preserve existing mature trees to the natural materials palette. Internal courtyards, louvered semi-open spaces and an open-plan layout help achieve an indoor/outdoor living experience that makes the tropical landscape the focus. The Earth House’s site-specific massing comprises a series of long bays that open up to views of the canal that wraps around the north side of the site. Folding glass doors and large, glazed openings connect the indoors to the outdoor living areas, where sheltered patios with cane furnishings and a long pool extend the footprint of the home toward the canal. Upstairs, private terraces extend the bedrooms to the outdoors to continue the home’s constant connection with nature. Related: Luxury home in Kerala produces all of its own energy Inside, the home is centered on a white Fibonacci-style spiral staircase that serves as a sculptural focal point and connects to a spacious, double-height living room that overlooks the pool and canal. Teak wood is used throughout — from the custom-crafted entrance door to the wooden artwork wall in the living room — and imbues the home with a sense of warmth in contrast to the cool Goan-Portuguese concrete floors. “With large overhangs and exposed concrete roofs, the house is designed to brace the Goan tropical rains,” the architects said. “The inner courtyards around tall existing trees as the several louvred spaces keep the house passively cool and well-ventilated in the tropical hot climate. Most of the glazing is double-glazed and is oriented towards the north to allow minimal heat and direct sunlight into the house. The lines and forms of the Earth House are designed to connect constantly with its outdoors, bringing nature and all its coconut palm filled views in a modern, crafted and fluid manner.” + SAV Architecture + Design Photography by Fabien Charuau via SAV Architecture + Design

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Reused teak and earthy stone make up a luxury Goan home with canal views

Architect designs his own breezy, plant-filled home in Los Angeles

November 18, 2020 by  
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David Montalba, founding principal of Montalba Architects, recently completed a 5,450-square-foot personal residence in Santa Monica, California. The design is based around a vertical courtyard concept with movable wooden screens that make up the facade. These screens help cool the home in an energy-efficient way during the area’s hot summers. Several additional green design elements, including a Tesla Powerwall and solar panels, further reduce the home’s carbon footprint. At three stories, the home seamlessly merges indoor and outdoor with the series of operable wooden screens, providing just enough privacy from neighbors. The vertical courtyard connects all levels of the house while a concrete base acts as an anchor to the lower levels. Landscaped balconies and the enclosed courtyard are divided by lush plants and connected with a bridge. The result is an L-shaped plan centered around the courtyard, locking into the site while the second floor hovers above the concrete footing and living quarters on the ground floor. Related: Santa Barbara home is surrounded by wooden screens for natural climate control   “Given the lot’s size and the neighborhood, the biggest challenge was making sure we didn’t overbuild and maintained some degree of privacy with our immediate neighbors,” Montalba said. “This was achieved by creating a basement level and vertical courtyard in which the house is organized. Los Angeles has a long history of residential courtyard buildings and that in combination with the privacy it offered helped drive this concept.” The louvers provide cross-ventilation over the footprint of the house, while the strategically placed pool provides evaporative cooling to create a breezy corridor through the living area. Adjacent terraced gardens and the perimeter of the home are landscaped with native plants for shading, cooling and stormwater retention. Other eco-friendly features include a rainwater collection system for potable water, a Tesla Powerwall , solar panels and radiant heating and cooling systems. A vertical garden adds more plant life to the home, while a thermal mass in the basement helps further achieve comfortable temperatures year-round. Soft tones and organic colors are featured in the interior design, with floor-to-ceiling length windows to let in plenty of natural light. + Montalba Architects Photography by Kevin Scott via v2com

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Permaculture design expert Matthew Prosser builds a family dome home

November 18, 2020 by  
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Great design can be subjective, but few can argue with architecture that incorporates natural materials sourced directly from the land it’s built on. One stellar example of such design is in this one-of-a-kind dome home built in Turkey. Called the 44M2, the project was designed and crafted by Matthew Prosser from Holistic Progression Designs, a firm based in Turkey. Influenced by traditional building techniques in Asia, where the designer lived for 10 years, the building is part art, part function and entirely livable for the young family who inhabits it. Related: Low-impact geodesic dome hotel immerses guests in Patagonian nature 44M2 is made up of three domes. Two of the domes are bedrooms, and the third is the main living space composed of the bathroom, living room and kitchen. Each dome was created using natural plasters from the surrounding earth. The shape and colors blend into the landscape for a marriage between the building and the nature that surrounds it. Inside, high ceilings and naturally carved steps to the second level create flow and, according to Prosser, a “womb-like calming effect.” Aircrete bricks provide insulation, and passive design promotes cross-ventilation to naturally cool the home. In addition, passive solar techniques, such as the use of skylights and custom, round windows, help with natural lighting and heating. Each of these energy-efficient elements of the design match Prosser’s commitment to low operating costs for the family. Inside, custom built-in furnishings, including bunk beds for the kids, a master bed support, seating and desks, enhance the natural elements of the project. All surfaces from the floors to the ceilings are curved for a cozy, cave-like atmosphere. This includes benches, circular windows, arched doorways and countertops. Prosser works internationally, using his skills as an accredited International Permaculture designer to find regeneration solutions. He’s completed myriad projects ranging from home building to playgrounds to providing planning expertise for a wildlife sanctuary. + Holistic Progression Designs Images via Holistic Progression Designs

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Kamp C hits a milestone with largest 3D-printer for concrete

November 2, 2020 by  
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Belgium-based provincial Centre for Sustainability and Innovation in construction, Kamp C, recently used Europe’s largest 3D concrete printer to complete an impressive accomplishment. The company created the world’s first two-story house to be  3D-printed  in one piece, a 90-square meter dwelling measuring eight meters tall (the average size of terraced houses in the region). “What makes this house so unique, is that we printed it with a fixed 3D concrete printer,” Emiel Ascione, the project manager at Kamp C, said in a press release. “Other houses that were printed around the world only have one floor. In many cases, the components were printed in a factory and were assembled on-site. We, however, printed the entire building envelope in one piece on-site.” Related: Czech Republic’s first 3D-printed floating home will take just 48 hours to build The project’s goal is to raise interest in 3D concrete printing as a building technique in the Belgian construction industry. The industry, like many others, continues to face environmental challenges from material and energy consumption, producing the need for reduced  CO2 emissions  and waste streams despite the growing demand for high-quality, affordable housing. This first house serves as a test that researchers will monitor for solidity over time. In the future, the company hopes to get printing time down from three weeks to just under two days. Kamp C’s printed home is three times sturdier than those built with conventional quick build bricks, according to the company’s project manager. The printing technology saved an estimated 60% on material, time and budget, requiring less wire-mesh reinforcement than similar projects. Highlighting the principle of  circular architecture , the design accommodates multipurpose options from use as a house, meeting space, office or exhibition space. The model home includes an overhang with heavily curved walls and features  low-energy  capabilities with floor and ceiling heating, solar panels in the facade and a heat pump. Future designs will include a green roof. + Kamp C Via Apartment Therapy    Images © Kamp C

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Cold Spring Residence, a family’s low-impact weekend retreat

October 2, 2020 by  
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Developed by architect and artist couple Jared and Carolina Della Valle, this stunning family  retreat  in the Hudson River Valley is driven by high sustainability standards. Located on 11 acres in Cold Spring, New York near where Carolina grew up, the house functions as a weekend escape for the family. Wary of the environmental effect that a second home could present, the designer set out to create a building with minimal impact on its natural surroundings. While planning and building the home, the designer made every effort to lessen the environmental impact. Jared’s company, Alloy, prides itself on being guided by professionals seeking to positively contribute to the built environment with sustainability at the forefront. The firm developed New York’s first two  passive house  schools and Brooklyn’s first all-electric skyscraper. Related: Contemporary Camp O communes with nature in the Catskills Cold Spring Residence, standing at 4,500 square feet and built to passive house standards, features a full  solar  array providing year-round energy to the home. All of the site’s natural resources are preserved, and a newly-planted meadow fills the remaining landscape with native plants that thrive all year long. The majority of the house uses raw  concrete  and pine finished with a natural tar resistant to bugs and woodpeckers, with bleached oak for the interior. Bedrooms reside on the cantilevered upper floor, allowing sunlight into the living spaces. Meanwhile, a two-story deep skylight shines into the kitchen. Inside, the concrete walls use old forms to create intentional imperfections and inconsistencies to produce a more organic look. Jared found and restored a steel pipeline to construct the outdoor shower, and an indoor-outdoor terrace promotes uninterrupted views of the valley. A sense of  minimalism  remains apparent in the home’s design and construction, making it conducive to a low maintenance lifestyle. This style gives the family more time to relax while enjoying the property’s natural environment. + Alloy Development Via Wallpaper

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Cold Spring Residence, a family’s low-impact weekend retreat

Greenland ice sheet melting faster than in last 12 millennia

October 2, 2020 by  
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Greenland’s massive ice sheet is melting at a rate faster than experienced in the past 12,000 years, according to a new study in  Nature . Published on Wednesday, the study, dubbed “Greenland Ice Sheet Will Exceed Holocene Values this Century,” revealed that Greenland is already losing ice at a rate four times faster than any period in the past 11,700 years.  Earlier studies showed that the fast rate of ice melt will lead to rising sea levels and disruption in ocean currents. According to these predictions, Greenland’s ice contributes the most to sea-level rise, with advanced models showing it raising sea levels by 0.7 millimeters each year. Estimations predicted the rate of sea-level rise to increase an additional four times by the end of the century. However, the new study explains that the actual impact of Greenland’s ice sheet melting could prove even worse than earlier predicted.  The new paper offers a revised prediction, showing that increased greenhouse gas emissions may worsen the state of affairs. If nothing changes regarding the current state of global warming, sea levels may rise between 2 to 10 centimeters per year by the century’s end. According to Jason Briner, a geologist at the University of Buffalo and the study’s lead author, the changes humans have made to the planet are already affecting Greenland ice melting rates. “We have altered our planet so much that the rates of ice sheet melt this century are on pace to be greater than anything we have seen under natural variability of the ice sheet over the past 12,000 years,” Briner said. Briner adds that the current ice melting state is not caused by natural variability as it has been historically. Instead, the current state is purely caused by humans. Andy Aschwanden from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks wrote commentary on the research , saying that the only stopping greenhouse gas emissions can stop Greenland’s mass wasting. “Thanks to the work of Briner and colleagues, we are now one step closer to the goal of accurately and confidently predicting mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet. However, we are also increasingly certain that we are about to experience unprecedented rates of ice loss from Greenland, unless greenhouse-gas emissions are substantially reduced,” Aschwanden said.  + Nature Via EcoWatch Image via Pixabay

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