3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

May 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Toronto’s new buildings are quickly cementing the city’s status as an architectural icon, and its latest gorgeously green residential tower is no exception. The city has just broken ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building with multiple tiers of green roofs. Designed by Danish architecture firm  3XN , the residential building has multiple outdoor spaces integrated into the design to enhance the well-being of the residents. Looking to serve as an icon for the revitalized Bayside Toronto waterfront area, the multi-tiered design will house 174 residential units. Large balconies and terraces rise up in an “L” shape from the first floor, creating a strong connection to the outdoors. These spaces not only enable residents to enjoy fresh air and incredible views of the lake, but also illuminate the apartments’ interiors with natural light . Along with the private homes, the complex will include a community center, a basketball court, retail spaces, and plenty of restaurants and cafes. Related: Toronto’s waterfront to undergo major futuristic redesign thanks to Google’s Sidewalk Labs According to the architects, their vision of creating a “complex yet elegant sculptural form” inspired the final design of rising terraces. Like many of 3XN’s projects, Aquabella was based on Scandinavian design principles , which typically have a strong emphasis on providing outdoor spaces for healthy lifestyles. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Nielsen described his firm’s role in creating an architectural design that would foster a strong sense of community: “3XN is thrilled to be part of helping Toronto to reclaim its industrial waterfront and integrate it into the city. Inspired by the scale and intimacy of a family home, we envision this new project as a vertical neighborhood on the shores of Lake Ontario. The design puts people first, paying particular attention to the quality of views, space and lifestyle. The development will command extraordinary views of the water, neighboring parks, and the city skyline.” + 3XN Architects Images via 3XN Architects

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3XN breaks ground on Aquabella, a LEED-certified building on Toronto’s waterfront

Steven Holl Architects LEED Gold-seeking museum is a beacon for sustainability

May 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Environmental design and contemporary art go hand-in-hand in Steven Holl Architects’ recently completed The Markel Center , the home of the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Located at the busiest intersection in Richmond, The Markel Center embodies VCU and the ICA’s commitment to sustainability with its LEED Gold-seeking design and energy-efficient technologies. Filled with natural light to reduce electricity demands, the museum draws energy from geothermal wells and features over 8,000 square feet of green roofs for extra insulation. Opened last month, VCU’s new Institute for Contemporary Art is free to the public and marks Richmond’s first art institution dedicated exclusively to exhibiting contemporary art . Sandwiched between VCU’s Monroe Park campus and the city’s art district, the ICA is a sculptural, 41,000-square-foot structure spread out across three floors and flooded with natural light from large glass walls, windows and skylights. The glass, which ranges in transparency from clear to opaque, filters out UV rays and, when backlit, gives the titanium-zinc-clad building a light, box-like appearance. The lobby, offices, cafe, bar, 240-seat auditorium , and concept shop, along with a 4,000-square-foot gallery, occupy the first floor and connect to the ICA’s central forum and outdoor garden, dubbed the “Thinking Field.” The second floor houses two forking galleries, an interactive “learning lab,” and a publicly accessible landscaped terrace . The top floor features a gallery with 33-foot-tall walls in addition to administrative suites and the boardroom. “We designed the ICA to be a flexible, forward-looking instrument that will both illuminate and serve as a catalyst for the transformative possibilities of contemporary art,” said architect Steven Holl. “Like many contemporary artists working today, the ICA’s design does not draw distinctions between the visual and performing arts. The fluidity of the design allows for experimentation and will encourage new ways to display and present art that will capitalize on the ingenuity and creativity apparent throughout the VCU campus.” Related: Steven Holl Architects unveils designs for geothermal-powered Angers Collectors Museum Clad in 100% recyclable titanium-zinc exterior paneling, the LEED Gold -seeking building draws energy from 43 geothermal wells for its radiant floor system. Native plants are used in the permeable landscape design as well as on the green roofs that cover three of the four gallery roofs. Nearly a third of materials used during construction were recyclable and nearly a quarter of the materials were regionally sourced. + Steven Holl Architects Images by Iwan Baan

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Steven Holl Architects LEED Gold-seeking museum is a beacon for sustainability

Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic

May 21, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Ocean plastic just got a flashy new awareness effort—in Manchester United Football Club jerseys. Adidas  has teamed up with Parley for the Oceans to release a kit utilizing recycled ocean plastic and inspired by the team’s 1968 European Cup Final win. Manchester United director Richard Arnold said in a statement, “We are all acutely aware of the threat of plastic to the environment and we are delighted to be able to raise further awareness with this recycled kit, which I am sure the fans will love.” Manchester United’s third kit features a navy blue shirt adorned with gold detailing from Parley for the Oceans and Adidas . It’s a throwback to the team’s 1968 royal blue kit in order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its European Cup victory. But the blue also calls to mind the world’s oceans , which are plagued by plastic pollution . Adidas Category Product Director Oliver Nicklisch said, “We all need to change the way we think and act towards our oceans…By working with Manchester United to create new, stunning jerseys made with Parley Ocean Plastic, we hope that we can highlight the issue of plastic damaging our oceans, and ultimately encourage and inspire football fans to join us in creating a better environment for everyone.” Players will don the kit for the first time on the field during Manchester United’s summer tour in the United States. Related: These Adidas sneakers double as subway passes in Berlin This isn’t the first time Adidas and Parley for the Oceans have collaborated; they’ve also created running shoes and clothes with plastic plucked out of the oceans. The apparel is available for purchase on Adidas’ website. The plastic upcycled in their clothing is sourced from beaches, coastal communities, and shorelines. + Parley for the Oceans + Adidas + Adidas x Parley + Manchester United Football Club Images courtesy of Adidas and Parley for the Oceans

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Adidas unveils a Manchester United jersey created with ocean plastic

Nine African cities commit to reaching zero carbon by 2050

May 21, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Nine cities across Africa , a continent vulnerable to climate change , are taking action. Recently, these cities pledged to deliver their share of carbon emissions reductions to hit Paris Agreement goals. The cities, several of which are major capitals, aim to reach zero carbon economies in just over 30 years. African cities will work to reduce emissions from things such as transport, buildings, energy production and waste management – an effort some have already started. https://t.co/nqU1xf4jb2 #Cities4Climate pic.twitter.com/tKp5sRugOe — C40 Cities (@c40cities) May 20, 2018 Transportation , waste management and  energy production are among the sectors African cities will tackle to lower emissions — and some cities have already started working toward their goals, according to C40 Cities , a network of cities around the world battling climate change. At a recent urban climate action planning meeting, Mohammed Adjei Sowah — mayor of Accra, the capital of Ghana and a participating city — said, “We cannot ignore the implications of what will befall us if we do not act now.” Related: A company in Ghana is turning plastic bags into roads Other cities joining Accra include Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Lagos in Nigeria, Dakar in Senegal, and four in South Africa: Durban, Tshwane, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. C40 Cities executive director Mark Watts said they expect that Nairobi in Kenya and Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire will soon submit plans to participate. It won’t be an easy task — according to  Reuters and the World Bank , of the top 10 large cities around the world with the lowest emissions, just one, Johannesburg, is currently in Africa. Nor will it be cheap; Heinrich Boll Foundation project coordinator Ikenna Ofoegbu told Reuters, “Each sector — like agriculture , power, transport — has its own strategies to encourage cleaner energy rather than use of fossil fuels . But these solutions are capital intensive.” But it’s certainly an important task, as the World Bank projects 70 percent of the world’s population could reside in cities by 2050, and it’s anticipated Africa could account for half of global population growth by 2050. Via Reuters Image via Depositphotos

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Nine African cities commit to reaching zero carbon by 2050

Point Nemo, the most remote spot in the ocean, is plagued with plastic

May 21, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

Point Nemo is so remote that those on the International Space Station, hundreds of miles above Earth, are usually the closest humans to this isolated place. Located nearly 1,700 miles from the nearest island, Point Nemo is the oceanic point farthest from land on our planet. Despite its secluded location, Point Nemo is plagued with plastic pollution. Sea vessels participating in the eight-month-long worldwide Volvo Ocean Race took seawater samples from Point Nemo, which contained up to 26 microplastic particles per cubic meter. In 1992, survey engineer Hrvoje Lukatela discovered Point Nemo by using a computer program to determine the planet’s most remote oceanic point. The isolated Point Nemo is also one of the most lifeless areas of the ocean due to its proximity to South Pacific Gyre current, which pushes away nutrient-rich water. Turn The Tide On Plastic , the Volvo Ocean Race  team that gathered the seawater sample from Point Nemo, collaborates with Sky Ocean Rescue to raise awareness of plastic pollution and organize action to reduce it. The plastic-contaminated samples, which were gathered during leg seven of the race from New Zealand to Brazil , represent the first instance in which Point Nemo water has been assessed for plastic content. Related: The isolated Pacific graveyard where spaceships go to die The seawater was first analyzed by Dr. Soren Gutekunst of the GEOMAR Institute for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany . “This means that even if I put a plastic bottle in the River Thames, maybe at some point I will find microplastics from this bottle down in South Africa ,” Gutekunst told Sky News . While the news of plastic pollution in even the most remote locations is concerning, the level of pollution is still far below that of areas such as the Mediterranean or the South China Sea, which contain the highest levels of microplastic pollution. + Volvo Ocean Race Via The Guardian and Sky News Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Point Nemo, the most remote spot in the ocean, is plagued with plastic

The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall

May 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Kitchens are often the heart of any home, and now an innovative company is giving our beloved cooking space a healthy and sustainable makeover. Interior design company  Finch London recently unveiled its beautiful bespoke rose-colored “Wellness Kitchen” that’s built with various chemical-free and eco-friendly materials  and features a stunning herb wall. The London-based company’s Wellness Kitchen — which recently took home the grand prize at the Grand Designs Live event for its spectacular design — offers a glimpse into the future of eco-friendly kitchen design . The space includes a number of wellness features such as incandescent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) light bulbs, a doTerra essential oil diffuser, a steam oven, an alkaline water purifier and much more. The countertops are made of Jesmonite, a water-based material that, unlike cast concrete, does not release volatile organic compounds . Related: Artisan Moss ‘plant paintings’ are maintenance-free alternatives to living walls The flooring is made from natural cork  harvested through an environmentally-friendly process. Resistant to dust and toxic absorption, cork is an ideal choice for people who suffer from allergies. It’s also antimicrobial and water-resistant, which helps to combat mold. A major feature of the kitchen is its verdant living herb wall installed on the kitchen island. In addition to various air-purifying plants found hanging throughout the space, the indoor herb garden allows homeowners to grow their own herbs and spices organically. + Finch London Via Household Beautiful Images via Finch London

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The all-natural ‘Wellness Kitchen’ includes a beautiful living herb wall

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

May 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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

Nomad Pavilion is a woven goat hair desert shelter that collects its own water

May 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Architects Dina Haddadin and Rasem Kamal have teamed up to create the Nomad Pavilion, an innovative structure that serves as both a desert shelter and a water tower. Inspired by indigenous Bedouin tents, the pavilion uses multiple layers of tightly-woven goat hair to insulate the structure from the harsh desert climate. A water collection cone at the top of the  shelter  collects dew and fog to fill the underground water tank. The hybrid shelter and water tower is made from 96 Corten steel rods and knotted ropes. Inspired by the national flower of Jordan, the Black Iris, the shelter boasts an intricate geometric formation. The steel rods rise from the circular base and slope inward. At the top, accordion-like “petals” open to the sky. Related: Tiny Papay Fire Shelter Inspired by Nomadic Tents Pops up in the Orkney Islands To create an extra layer of resilience and insulation, the architects wrapped the shelter in multiple layers of coarsely woven hairs . Residents can leave the cloth open to encourage air ventilation when needed, or they can close the cloth completely to protect the interior from extreme heat. The goat hair also traps heat during the day and releases it throughout the night to keep the shelter warm. When it rains or snows, the fibers swell, and the exterior tightens. As a water collection system , the pavilion is equipped with a “self-sustained drinking fountain” that will harvest dew and fog for water. A collecting cone — made of natural fabrics with hydrophilic and hydrophobic qualities — is located in the aperture at the top of the structure. These natural materials collect water, then funnel it through pipes to an underground tank. The Nomad Pavilion is meant to be a more resilient version of the traditional Bedouin tent design. The architects said, “The main vision is to create a new interpretation of the authentic tent, a structure that blends with its surroundings, yet stands out as a calling sanctuary for visitors in the nomads’ land; to become a shaded oasis, a gathering rest spot and a source of fresh drinking water.” The tent, which is in the prototype stage, is designed to leave no footprint on its surroundings . Haddadin and Kamal said, “As a result of using local natural materials, water collection and energy efficient space, the pavilion attempts to create a closed loop of existence — one that leaves no footprint, one that gives nature time to heal, to regrow and to flourish.” + Dina Haddadin + Rasem Kamal Via Dezeen Images via Rasem Kamal

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Nomad Pavilion is a woven goat hair desert shelter that collects its own water

The Jackson House floats at the base of a canyon in Big Sur

May 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

This beautiful home located at the base of a canyon in Big Sur is made from an array of materials, including copper and concrete. Fougeron Architecture designed the Jackson House as a modern holiday house on stilts that appears to float over the site. The house was designed as a place where the inhabitants can enjoy their weekends and reconnect with nature. Fougeron Architecture worked for three and a half years with several consultants to build the modern family retreat . Related: Gorgeous staggered timber home offers panoramic views of Idaho’s wilderness The main design challenge was to create a building that would blend into the steep canyon walls, while resting gently on the land so as not to disturb the fragile environment. The home is composed of four main volumes nestled under an over-sized butterfly roof that extends out to create covered terraces . The retreat balances the relationship between communal living and privacy. + Fougeron Architecture Via Uncrate Photos by Richard Barnes

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The Jackson House floats at the base of a canyon in Big Sur

Ecobricks transform plastic trash into reusable building blocks

May 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

People are getting creative with plastic waste around the world, and now Ecobricks wants to utilize plastic for building. They encourage people to pack soft plastic garbage into plastic bottles to make blocks that can create buildings, walls, or modular furniture . The group says ecobricks offer a zero-cost solution to plastics pollution that allows people to take action right now. According to the Ecobricks website, “Ecobricks are designed to leverage the longevity and durability of plastic to create an indefinitely reusable, cradle to cradle, building block.” People create these blocks by packing cleaned plastic into drinking bottles, then connecting them with “tire bands, silicone, cob, and cement,” although the group advises against using concrete. “No special skills, machinery, funding, NGOs, or politicians are needed,” the group said in a YouTube video . Related: Cameroon student nonprofit recycles plastic bottles into boats Ecobricks describes itself not as an NGO, but as a people-powered movement . Designer Russell Maier, one of the people behind the movement,  said in an interview  that he discovered ecobricking while living in Sabangan in the Northern Philippines. Currently based in Indonesia, Maier was a lead author of the Vision Ecobricks Guide, originally created for schools in the Northern Philippines. According to the Ecobricks website, the guide is now part of the curriculum in over 8,000 schools in the Philippines, and Maier has “overseen the construction of hundreds of ecobrick playgrounds, gardens, and buildings.” People in the United States, South America, and Africa have gotten involved in ecobricking as well, creating projects that include an eco-restaurant in the Ecuadorean Amazon. You can find more information about ecobricking on the group’s  website . + Ecobricks Images via Ecobricks

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