Hemp and lime studio in Italy highlights sustainable living

November 25, 2021 by  
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Architects Cosimo Terlizzi and partner Damien Modolo have created a lamia-style hemp and lime construction art studio in southern Italy. It combines traditional building style from the Valle d’Itria and Alto Salento region with modern and sustainable materials and energy management systems. The team designed the studio to reflect the owners’ love of both the Apulian countryside and sustainable living . Lamia Santolina has a traditional farmers’ building style that looks like a thick, white box. The building is wider at the base and tapers toward the roof and includes broad windows on each side placed in the heavy, whitewashed walls. The building uses natural and recyclable materials to insulate and seal the structure. This design was traditionally intended to make the most of natural daylight without allowing too much direct sunlight to enter the windows, keeping the building cool during hot Italian summers. Related: Backwards Sky Ranch House offers gorgeous valley views Walls and the roof slab were fabricated by Messapia Style, an ethical construction company and champion of hemp and lime construction in Italy. Lime and hemp construction is gaining popularity throughout Europe because the non-toxic mixture has a high thermal sealing capacity (thermal conductivity: 0.056 W/mK), controls internal moisture levels and absorbs CO2 from the environment. Internal stability is created by a modular iron structure produced by Scaff System. This was adapted to accommodate the ancient incannucciato cane roof technique. Local artisans placed locally grown canes on top to create mats that rest on the steel joists. A 25-cm hemp and lime mixture layer was then applied on top of the canes to seal and insulate the roof. Solar power and rainwater collection rounds out this eco-friendly studio. The solar system should provide enough electricity for several surrounding structures. Rainwater will be used for irrigation of the surrounding olive grove. + YAS Architecture Images via YAS Architecture

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Hemp and lime studio in Italy highlights sustainable living

El Perdido honors its environment and the local culture

October 6, 2021 by  
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Estudio ALA recently completed a small development in Baja California Sur with an overarching goal of reintroducing local culture into the architecture , building process and visitor experience. The project is called El Perdido, and it’s a collection of hut-like accommodations that make up a desert tourism destination. Rather than importing most materials and ignoring the environment, El Perdido pays special attention to local tradition and the project’s impact. Related: Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor El Perdido is located in the small agricultural town of El Pescadero, which is rich in plantations of basil, chili, tomatoes and strawberries. To honor these historical roots while minimizing the need for resources like water, the design team left the surrounding landscape natural, with expansive low natural shrubs and  plants . Near the entrance, a grove of palo blanco trees provide natural shading, too. The huts were developed with attention to the natural climate of the region, providing guest comfort through  passive design  for effective heating and cooling. “Temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, and solar incidence on the site were taken into consideration to employ strategies of passive cooling during the summer and passive heating in the winter,” the team said. The site was also equipped with its own water treatment plant and a saltwater pool with saline chlorinators to reduce chemical use and improve  water  efficiency.  The accommodations are built with earthen walls, and  wood  is the primary support material for each structure. The palm roofs add to the authentic appeal and overall nod to Baja California Sur’s heritage. Materials were sourced regionally, minimizing the need for lengthy transport, and local artisans were hired for the build.   The campus includes a main guest house, which includes a living area, dining room, kitchen bar for visitors, multipurpose area, store with local products, and reception. This is a gathering area and main hub of the property. Also on site is a  restaurant  and bar. Walkways lead throughout the campus to the lodgings and a sunken courtyard with low walls made from natural materials. In the courtyard, visitors can find a fountain and chapel. A stroll further along the walkway leads to an observatory with expansive ocean views.  At the center of the property is a shared pool in a courtyard that connects to the villas and main house. Each villa was designed to maximize efficiency and invite a marriage between the indoors and outdoors. + Estudio ALA  Via ArchDaily Images via Iwan Baan 

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El Perdido honors its environment and the local culture

Ken Soble Tower sets an example for high-rise sustainability

August 25, 2021 by  
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Vacant and in disrepair, the Ken Soble Tower in the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada was a candidate for a sale or demolition. But, ERA Architects, known for retrofit architectural designs and integration of low-carbon systems, redesigned the building instead. Now the 18-story apartment building is the largest EnerPHit Passive House building in North America. Throughout the transition, ERA focused on creating a healthy living environment for the senior residents who want to age in place while simultaneously ensuring the health of the planet. Related: Traumhaus Funari transforms an old military site into affordable housing The 1967 building wore a white brick exterior, a look the ERA team kept in place by cladding with new stucco panels. Top to bottom, the building received a high-performance envelope. Triple-glazed windows allow in  natural light  and ventilation. Ultra-efficient interior and exterior insulation helps contribute to the overall airtight design. By also replacing the HVAC system, the building achieved a remarkable 94% reduction in carbon emissions and an 89% reduction in thermal energy demand intensity (TEDI).  The inside of each apartment received an update with a new kitchen, bathroom, flooring and lighting, with attention to  energy efficiency  along the way.  Graeme Stewart, Principal, ERA Architects says, “Ken Soble Tower is a true beacon on an international stage, showcasing how low carbon and low energy retrofits are not only sustainable, but also realize the best outcomes for residents’ health, safety and comfort within their homes.” While the Ken Soble Tower isn’t the first project of its type, the result stands as an example for many similar buildings. Inasmuch, it will be the basis for a two-year study to measure the effectiveness of the building, residents and surrounding environment, in regards to health, safety, economy and more. The results will be available as a teaching tool to offer real-world lessons in retrofit design. “Many aging, postwar apartment towers provide critical affordable housing for millions of Canadians, but increasingly face complex challenges that require repair. Our hope is that the Ken Soble Tower marks the beginning of a wave of deep retrofits across the country. As we look towards a post-pandemic recovery amid a climate -challenged world, there’s an urgency to apply this type of holistic thinking on a broader scale,” Stewart continued. + ERA Architects Images via Codrin Talaba and Doublespace Photography

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Mexico City oasis features terrace gardens on every floor

August 25, 2021 by  
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In a city otherwise characterized by dense populations, high altitudes and metropolitan buildings, Chiapas 168 Building represents a refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle. Located in the Roma district of Mexico City,  Mexico’s  largest and most populous city, this home has an exceptionally tropical feel to it thanks to bamboo wood materials and a grouping of terrace gardens on each level. The Mexico City oasis comes from the minds at Vertebral, a local architecture and  landscaping  studio that highlights designs to bring forested ambiance into the city. Rather than concentrating on the buildings themselves with landscaping as an afterthought, the company says they design gardens and build around them. Related: Aztec-inspired eco home sits lightly on the land in Mexico Chiapas 168 is made up of four residential apartments positioned adjacent to an ancient jacaranda tree, a subtropical plant native to south-central South America and brought to Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century. The building features steel planters that run along the balconies, disappearing between purple and jasmine flowers. The architects considered native organisms while designing the layout of the roof and terrace gardens to increase  biodiversity  within the city environment. The exterior of the building uses unpolished concrete and dark stained wood that is translated into the interior, invoking the design’s overall theme of integrating nature into the urban landscape. A core system of vertical circulations helps divide the apartment building’s communal areas from the private residences, connected by a stairwell made of bright pine wood. Unlike other apartment buildings where the stairwells are associated with dark, musty environments, the stairwell here is bathed in bright  natural light . A curtain of  bamboo  to the south protects the back garden from view while also filtering light and wind. Inside, wooden floor-to-ceiling shelving and paneled walls help create privacy without jeopardizing the apartment’s open planned layout in the communal area, complete with a kitchen, dining room and living room.   + Vertebral Via ArchDaily Images courtesy of Onnis Luke

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10 great plants for a living roof

July 16, 2016 by  
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Rooftops are tough place for plants: they’re vulnerable to intense heat, cold, wind and drought, plus they can’t support a lot of weight, so the plants need to grow in just a few inches of soil (actually, ultra-lightweight soilless growing mediums are typically used). Thus, it’s plants that grow naturally on desert cliffs, alpine crags, and other such inhospitable places that are used for green roofs . Fortunately, these include many truly stunning species—some exquisitely beautiful, others absolutely bizarre and even a few that are edible or otherwise useful. Green roof plants fall into four general categories: Related: Need a Rooftop Farm? Call this Company Succulents These are the mainstays of any green roof and should form the bulk of the planting, unless provisions are made for the roof to support soil deeper than the 3 to 4 inches that is typical. These tiny succulents thrive with virtually no water or soil. They are available in a kaleidoscope of colors, giving a broad palette with which to design your living roof . Sedum spp. Also known as stonecrop , because the succulent foliage resembles smooth, polished stone, sedums are the royalty of living roof plants. There are literally hundreds of varieties, found growing in cliff-side cracks and crannies around the world and were the first species employed in the green roof industry. With so many distinctly colored varieties available, you can paint a beautiful picture on your roof. Sempervivum spp. Called houseleeks (because they were used as a traditional Scandinavian rooftop plant) by some and hen and chicks by others (the mature rosettes “give birth” to tiny replicas of themselves as they spread), sempervivum means “evergreen” in Latin, indicating that your roof will be attractive year-round with this type of succulent. Like sedums, they stay low to the ground and come in many colors. Delosperma spp. are spreading succulents grown for their daisy-like flowers , which bloom throughout the growing season. There are white, yellow, red and purple varieties and most have the habit of changing their shade of color as the flowers fade, creating a monochromatic effect Aenoium arboreum is a variety of houseleek that grows as a tiny tree (usually less than two feet tall) that looks like it would be more at home on Mars than planet Earth. It’s not a spreading ground cover like the other succulents in the list, but it can create a bit of vertical variation in your roof garden. The variety Zwartkop  or Schwartzkopf (black head, in Dutch or German) will create plenty of interest with its color as well—it’s such a deep purple that it’s almost black. Related: How to Make Your Own Green Terrarium Grasses Most grasses would fail on a living roof , unless they were watered constantly in the summer. However, there are a few that have what it takes to withstand the conditions. To be honest, most green roof grasses are not considered as such from a botanical perspective, and are more accurately termed “grass-like plants”. Like the succulents, they are good for covering a lot of territory and create a pleasing contrast when combined with succulents. Many seed themselves, making your rooftop garden a self-replenishing landscape. Armeria maritima is not at all related to what grows in lawns, but the foliage appears as a tidy green clump of grass. In nature, it grows in ocean-side cliffs and dunes (hence the name maritima ), making it well adapted to rooftop conditions—especially those by the sea. It is also called sea thrift and, unlike any grass, it is crowned with pink or purple flowers in summer. Carex nigra is technically considered a sedge and is often used on living roofs, because its roots require less soil than most other grasses, or grass-like, plants. Wildflowers These are used more sparingly and benefit from a bit deeper soil than the other species listed here. This can be accomplished by mounding the planting medium here and there to create little wildflower hummocks. Use them for a taller accent in sporadic locations in your living roof design . Aster alpinus is an aster from alpine regions, meaning it is no stranger to intense weather and thin soil. Nonetheless, it produces brilliant sprays of deeply saturated purple flowers with yellow button centers, which attract hordes of butterflies. Achillea millefolium is commonly known as yarrow; a wildflower that, unlike asters, will spread across the surface of your living roof as a ground cover. This powerful medicinal plant has ferny, aromatic foliage and tall flower stalks capped with broad concave blossoms which make great landing pads for butterflies. Yarrow has the added benefit of tolerating light foot traffic. Related: The Biggest Hospital in North America to Feature a Green Roof with Medicinal Herbs Aromatic Herbs This is where a living roof crosses over to become an herb garden. Many of the most common culinary herbs happen to grow in dry, rocky places, making them ideal candidates for a green roof . The varieties listed here are low-growing, wide-spreading groundcovers; the other key trait for a living rooftop carpet. Thymus vulgaris is the standard garden variety of thyme that creeps along just a few inches tall and, like yarrow, can tolerate being walked upon.  It makes a luxurious aromatherapy bed for rooftop sunbathing and, of course, can be harvested on demand for the kitchen. Origanum vulgare is common oregano . Like thyme, it is native to the rocky hills of the Mediterranean basin and it can bring that special flavor to your rooftop if you choose to plant it. It’s also a ground cover, growing 4 to 6 inches tall. All images via Shutterstock  

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INTERVIEW: With Bridgette Meinhold, Author of ‘Urgent Architecture’

March 27, 2016 by  
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When Inhabitat design writer ,  Bridgette Meinhold , heard about the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and the massive devastation it caused, she wanted to help, and was drawn to start investigating different options for temporary shelters and disaster relief housing. This exploration gradually broadened to a larger focus on design for disaster-preparedness ; seeking out what type of shelters can best withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, rising sea levels and tornados. Now I’m thrilled to say that after years of research, Bridgette has just published an incredible new book entitled Urgent Architecture: 40 Sustainable Housing Solutions for a Changing World . Urgent Architecture showcases inspiring and innovative ideas for resilient design – design that will withstand the test of time – surviving climate change, rising sea levels, manmade and natural disasters . I recently had a chance to interview Bridgette about her new book at Inhabitat HQ in NYC , and she gave me some fascinating insight into her inspiration for the book, the impact  climate change  will have on future housing and what she believes is necessary to create a more sustainable and responsive built landscape. Watch the video above for the interview, and if you want to learn more, you can get your own copy of Urgent Architecture here . A full transcript of the interview with pics is available after the jump. Read the rest of INTERVIEW: With Bridgette Meinhold, Author of ‘Urgent Architecture’

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Japanese studio Sandwich wraps a passive solar home in diagonal wood offcuts

November 27, 2015 by  
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Andrew Michler’s ‘[ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture’ explores how sustainable architecture engages with its environment

October 26, 2015 by  
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What is the relationship between a building and its location, and what should that relationship be? Inhabitat writer , passive house consultant and author Andrew Michler  tackles that question with his new book: [ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture: Contemporary Sustainable Archetypes . In the past, a building was imposed on the landscape, on it but not a part of it. Today, innovative architecture weaves into its environment and the people who live in it. In his book, Michler speaks with renowned architects to better understand this hyperlocalized architecture and how it is influencing today’s most forward-thinking, sustainable designs. + [ours] Hyperlocalization of Architecture

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I Love Mud Builds a Spooky Halloweeny Bubble Hut With All Natural and Recycled Materials

October 13, 2015 by  
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A swirling green roof tops the gorgeous Nanyang Technical University in Singapore

April 6, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of A swirling green roof tops the gorgeous Nanyang Technical University in Singapore Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Art , art school , CPG Consultants , Design , Eco Architecture , eco design , glass facade , green architecture , green design , green roof , green roof building , green roofs , green-roofed art school , Media , Nanyang , Nanyang Technological University , natural landscaping , planted roof , Singapore , Singapore green roof , sustainable design

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A swirling green roof tops the gorgeous Nanyang Technical University in Singapore

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