Amsterdams new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy

November 27, 2019 by  
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The city of Amsterdam has officially opened the Depot Amsterdam Noord, a new repository for the capital’s Stadsarchief city archives. Designed by cepezed and cepezedinterieur, the new building offers nearly double the amount of space of the existing archive facilities. Even more impressive is its use of circular design principles and energy-neutral operations thanks to an airtight envelope, energy-efficient systems and solar panels. Realized by BAM Bouw en Techniek within a Design, Build & Maintain assignment, the Depot Amsterdam Noord does not receive visitors and is used solely for the reception, quarantine, intake, cleaning and processing of archival documents. The 2,665-square-meter facility houses all municipal archives from 1811, when Napoleon introduced the Civil Registry. All documents before 1811, as well as posters, prints, photos and film material, are located in the publicly accessible De Bazel building in the heart of Amsterdam .  Related: Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands Located in the northern part of the city, the building sports a “fierce and robust” appearance. “The building block is almost completely closed and from the outside, it does not reveal what it contains,” the architects said. “It has a dark, completely flush and anthracite-colored facade with a horizontal band of solar panels in the middle that is also dark gray. The detailing is minimalist. The sleek and basic character of the building makes for a firm landing of the storage place within its surroundings.” An enlarged version of Amsterdam’s iconic logo — the three red Andreas crosses — have also been added to the gray facade. To achieve a stable, climate-controlled interior, the architects designed the building with an airtight, highly insulating shell with minimal ventilation and an uninsulated concrete floor that acts as a passive heat and cold storage facility. All of the energy the building needs is generated by more than 1,600 square meters of solar panels on its facade and roof; any energy surplus is fed back to the electricity grid. A water management system also ensures responsible stormwater practices. The prefabricated components of the building are detachable, removable and reusable in keeping with the circular ambitions of the design team and Amsterdam. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Amsterdams new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy

This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power

August 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch architectural practice Studio Public has carved out a slice of eco-friendly bliss in Houten, a nearly car-free suburb in Utrecht. Dubbed the Eco Villa, the 2,000-square-foot modern home slots in perfectly with its green and environmentally minded surroundings with an emphasis on natural materials, sustainability and the use of renewable energy . Powered by solar, the abode produces all of its own energy and is even complemented by a naturally filtered pool for chlorine-free swimming. Built with an L shape to frame the outdoor garden and natural pool with a wooden walkway, Eco Villa features two bedrooms and an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen. A slim “technical zone” divides the master suite from the living areas. The exterior is clad in a combination of Corten steel panels, plaster and wood screens and is punctuated with floor-to-ceiling, triple-pane glass to bring the outdoors in. The operable walls of glass and strategically placed skylights fill the home with natural light.  Related: Energy-neutral luxury houseboat floats in Haarlem waters As with the exterior, the interior features a natural materials palette and a minimalist design. Timber is the predominate material that ties the various spaces together, from the cabinetry in the bathrooms to the flooring in the living spaces. Clean lines, simple forms and select pops of color — like the blue tile wall divider in the bathroom — make the home look contemporary and cozy without visual clutter. In addition to solar panels, the Eco Villa is equipped with a heat pump. The use of renewable energy combined with highly efficient insulation and an emphasis on natural daylighting has made the home capable of generating all of its own energy — sometimes with power left over to send back to the grid. + Studio Public Via Design Milk Photography by Marsel Loermans via Studio Public

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This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power

Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments

November 21, 2018 by  
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In a bid to save, rather than tear down, a historically significant bridge in the Netherlands, Delft-based cepezed architects unveiled an adaptive reuse scheme for turning the defunct bridge into a base for energy-neutral dwellings and a conference center. Created in collaboration with Expericon, Hollandia Infra, Mammoet and the IV-Group, this innovative proposal was the result of a consortium that sought to sustainably redevelop the structure, which spans the river Lek near Vianen. Although the plan did not pass planning approval, the team hopes that its designs will serve as inspiration for similar adaptive reuse projects in other locations. Originally built in 1936, the arch bridge over the river Lek was once one of the most important connectors between the north and south sides of the Netherlands. Starting in 2004, however, the historic bridge was rendered obsolete after the completion of the larger Jan Blanken-bridges. The consortium was put together in hopes of restoring and reusing the bridge so as to avoid the cost and labor of dismantling and removing the existing structure. The plan — informed by the consortium’s focus on “ sustainability , circularity and uniqueness” — proposed turning the ramps of the bridge into zero-energy apartments that would bookend a centrally located catering and conference pavilion. The design would use efficient and lightweight materials for the new construction; an abundance of glass would also be installed to take advantage of impressive landscape views and to bring ample natural light indoors. The industrial heritage of the bridge would be celebrated through the preserved architecture. Related: Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park “With the inevitable further modernization, beautiful old constructions on a variety of locations frequently go out of use,” said cepezed director Jan Pesman in a project statement. “With smart solutions, we can often think up and design unique new destinations for them. We really love such challenges; reuse provides the historical settings with new layers of meaning and the new functions with an enormous added value. Moreover, it is plainly sustainable, of course.” + cepezed Images via cepezed

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Architects want to transform an old Dutch bridge into zero-energy apartments

Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

November 21, 2018 by  
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When Melbourne-based firm  Merrylees Architecture was tasked with giving on old Victorian home a modern makeover , they wanted to retain the home’s original features as much as possible. After stripping layers and layers of exterior paint off the home, the architects discovered that the original red bricks underneath were in excellent condition, leading the way for the Unbricked House’s rebirth, which included a number of restored and new materials. When the homeowners of the 2,637 -square-foot home first contacted the architects, they requested that their beloved Victorian home be restored , but with a focus on maintaining the home’s charming character. Additionally, they wanted a new layout that would cater to their personal lifestyle and one that would be thermally-sound year round. Related: A Seattle midcentury home is restored to its original brilliance with a modern twist Beginning on the exterior, the architects stripped the old paint completely off the red brick walls. Once they discovered the brick facade was in excellent condition, they decided to use it to establish a distinct connection between the old home and a new red brick addition, which would add more space and light to the family home. The second request from the client was to add as much natural light into the home as possible. With this in mind, the home’s new addition was made out of multiple black steel framed windows. According to the architects, “Early discussions about materiality lead to a combination of recycled red brick, black steel framed windows, blackened blackbutt and black metal trims. Contemporary yet sustainable materials; solid and everlasting just like the original home.” To create a family-friendly layout, the living space was reconfigured to include large proportions on the areas that serve as communal spaces, the living room, kitchen, etc. These spaces are flooded with natural light thanks to not only the large glazed walls, but the strategically-placed skylights throughout the home. The interior design throughout the home is fresh and modern, with white walls, hints of a soothing light blue and light timber features. + Merrylees Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Merrylees Architecture

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Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory

Energy-neutral luxury houseboat floats in Haarlem waters

February 14, 2018 by  
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Filled with light and stunning views, modern houseboats in the Netherlands are things of envy—especially this new gem by VanOmmeren-architects . The Amsterdam-based studio recently completed Houseboat Haarlem Shuffle, an energy-neutral floating villa powered by solar energy and two heat pumps. The gorgeous home balances the need for privacy with maximizing landscape views. Located in the Spaarne River, Houseboat Haarlem Shuffle is a spacious 210-square-meter build spread out across two floors. Timber cladding wraps around the home and is bordered by aluminum roof trim for a clean and minimalist appearance. Clerestory windows punctuate the street-facing facade while large, nearly full-height windows in the southwest open the home up to an abundance of natural light and views. Inside on the first floor, a spacious open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen soak up the sun and views, and also step out to a sheltered outdoor terrace with room for seating and a grill. The first floor also houses the master ensuite, storage, and office. A light material palette and whitewashed walls reinforce the interior’s bright and airy appearance. Related: Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it A stairway leads down to a second floor below where two guest bedrooms and bathrooms are located in addition to a large music room, storage, laundry room, and mechanical room. “The design plays with the perception of the dynamics around the Spaarne, the relationship with Haarlem and the bright open living spaces,” wrote the architects about the energy-neutral design. “The ark gets its expression by a strong orthogonal composition of open and closed facade elements. The large vide near the southwest windows opens up the floor for light to reach the lower music and sleeping spaces.” + VanOmmeren-architects Via ArchDaily Images via VanOmmeren-architects , by Eva Janssens

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Energy-neutral luxury houseboat floats in Haarlem waters

Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials

July 4, 2017 by  
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This amazing home by Lifehaus blends low-cost off-grid appeal with with holistic living and luxurious details. The Lebanon -based company started by Nizar Haddad is pioneering energy neutral dwellings made from locally sourced and recycled materials . People living in the green homes will be able to generate their own electricity and grow their own food. Lifehaus homes include a greenhouse for growing food and solar panels for generating renewable energy . It promotes sustainable water use through rainwater collection and grey water reuse. And all this comes with a price tag of around half the average cost of an unfurnished Lebanese home, which is around $800 per square meter. Related: The first off-grid Ecocapsule microhomes are shipping to customers this year Lifehaus addresses many societal issues in their sustainable dwellings that offer a way of life more in touch with the Earth. “Lebanon’s construction industry is one of the leading factors behind desertification in the country,” Media Representative Nadine Mazloum told Inhabitat. “Entire hills and mountains are being turned into wastelands as demand for conventional buildings continues to rise. Also, with Lebanon being a post-war country, successive governments, since 1990, and up until now have been and continue to be unable to provide many of the country’s citizens with round-the-clock water and electricity – so this got us thinking of going off the grid.” Lebanon has been suffering from a trash epidemic , and the crisis propelled the team into action in 2015, according to Mazloum. She said, “As garbage was left on the streets for months at a time, we felt that we could no longer wait and so dedicated ourselves fully to Lifehaus.” Lifehaus treats that waste as treasure by incorporating recycled materials in the dwellings. They also allow for composting organic trash for use in the garden as fertilizer. Passive design keeps a Lifehaus cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The homes can be partially buried, with the roofs offering additional food-growing space. This helps them be more earthquake-resistant and minimizes heat loss. The homes’ low cost design could work for housing in developing countries , or for refugees . Lifehaus counts Earthship among their sources of inspiration, and creator Michael Reynolds has endorsed the project. Lifehaus is drawing on ancestral building techniques, such as using mud and clay as opposed to concrete, and treating those materials with linseed oil and lime. Construction on the first 1,722 square foot prototype will begin next month in Baskinta, Lebanon, and Lifehaus hopes to get the community involved. “Now is the time for the human species to reconcile with nature . Our collective lifestyles are no longer sustainable,” Mazloum told Inhabitat. “The Lifehaus is not just about building a house, it’s about community and communication. We hope to reinforce the feeling of being in a community and communicating a strong message that yes, we can all make a change no matter how dark the world seems.” + Lifehaus + NH-Architectes Images courtesy of Lifehaus

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Amazing low-cost, off-grid Lifehaus homes are made from recycled materials

Abused piglet dumped at animal shelter undergoes miraculous transformation

July 4, 2017 by  
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Though we may never know why some people abuse animals (or other people), it’s heartening to know compassionate individuals do still exist. The Dodo shares a story about the folks at Sale Ranch Sanctuary , who saved a young piglet’s life. The pig, named Cherry Blossom, lived in unspeakable conditions before she was finally dumped at an animal shelter in California that primarily cares for cats and dogs. Though she wasn’t expected to survive due to a severe case of sarcoptic mange, Cherry Blossom made a complete recovery. Hit the jump to hear her story. The Dodo reports that Cherry Blossom was abandoned at a shelter near Temecula, California. The staff says the man who dropped her off claimed she was a stray. However, it is suspected she was previously owned and developed conditions due to improper care. Said Jen Sale, CEO and founder of Sale Ranch Sanctuary, “She had an incredibly severe case of  sarcoptic mange,  which is one of the most severe types of mange you can get. If it’s not treated, it can be fatal.” “They [the shelter workers] think it was the rancher who actually brought her in. He didn’t care for her when she got sick. Instead, he just dropped her off and said he found her,” she added. Because the shelter doesn’t care for pigs, employees quickly contacted the nearby farm sanctuary . Sale, who has worked with livestock for years, suspects Cherry Blossom lived in “overcrowded, filthy conditions.” She said, “As a baby, her immune system was still developing, and she kind of got walloped.” The mange didn’t just look bad, it was also causing Cherry Blossom a lot of pain. Despite this, she was very friendly toward Sale and her husband. “She still wanted comfort from us,” Sale said. “We’d come and put the medicine on her, and she learned very quickly that we were helping her. And even though she was in so much pain, she’d snuggle up and want us to rub her belly. She’s just a testimony for how forgiving and loving animals are.” Related: Rombaut makes cruelty-free leather shoes from discarded pineapple leaves After seeing a veterinarian , the pig began receiving healing cream rubs and laser light therapy. Two months later, her mange has cleared up and, as a result, Cherry Blossom’s hair is regrowing. “Her hair is fully growing in, and her skin is totally good,” Sale said. “The transformation really is amazing.” Feeling better, Cherry Blossom’s personality is also coming out. “She’s super silly,” Sale said. “She’ll play with her ball. She loves her little mud hole. And she gets along with everybody. She runs around with our dogs, she goes over to our barnyard to visit the animals there. She’s just a sweetheart, and all she wants is attention and affection from people.” Remarking on the deed of restoring the piglet to proper health, Sale said, “We’re just really grateful and blessed that we were able to bring her home and take care of her and get her healthy. Even though she kind of had a rough start to life, she’s doing very well. She’s going to have a really beautiful life.” If you feel inspired, consider donating to the Sale Ranch Sanctuary . Via The Dodo Images via Sale Ranch Sanctuary

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Abused piglet dumped at animal shelter undergoes miraculous transformation

Zero-energy timber and steel home is buried into a natural dune

December 27, 2016 by  
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VVKH architecten designed Villa Meijendel in Doornweg, the Netherlands to a client’s custom specifications – but they also had a big helping hand from nature. Clad in timber charred Shou Sugi Ban timber, Villa Meijendel is a site-specific home that is half-buried in a high dune and largely sculpted by the forest landscape. Solar panels, heat pumps, and the high thermal mass of the building’s concrete structure helps the home produce as much energy as it consumes. The Villa Meijendel comprises three levels, two of which are partially built into the dune . The ground level contains a garage and technical room. The building’s unusual form was dictated by local regulations that only allowed a small and compact building volume on the relatively narrow lot located on the edge of the Meijendel nature reserve . The first level of the home includes two bedrooms, a master bedroom, wellness room, entrance, and office, while the topmost level includes a large living room and kitchen. Related: Prefab Dutch ‘Shou Sugi Ban’ House Features a Low-Maintenance Charred Timber Facade The home is modern and minimalist with unpolished concrete, steel, charred wood , unfinished wood, and anodized aluminum. Split levels in the house create a variety of views inside the home and out towards the landscapes through the large expanses of glazing. “Every detail, such as the door handle or stairs, is precisely thought through and designed,” write the architects. “Villa Meijendel is a fascinating artefact, a sort of wooden forest hut fully integrated in the landscape and with a strong connection between the interior spaces and immediate surroundings. Trees, light and dunes have sculpted this remarkable house.” + VVKH architecten Via ArchDaily Images via VVKH architecten

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Zero-energy timber and steel home is buried into a natural dune

Ambulance station built from renewable materials has a nearly energy-neutral footprint

October 11, 2016 by  
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Located on the outskirts of Zeist near the edge of the forest, the 550-square-meter ambulance station is tucked away out of sight from the hospital. Though the building has no public function and will never be seen by patients, the structure has a sculptural form that’s both beautiful and functional. Vertical strips of light-colored untreated timber clad the facade and help the single-story ambulance station blend into the forest. Plants crawl up the sides of the sloping walls to the curved roof topped with sedum and solar panels . The wooden trusses that support the roof can be seen in the light-filled interior. Related: Beautiful brick ambulance station in the UK renovated as a cozy vacation home “Wood has many advantages as a bio-based and healthy building material,” wrote Architectenforum. “We opted for a laminated timber construction. The timber-frame facades, the siding and the window frames are also made in wood.” A highly insulated envelope helps the building achieve nearly energy neutral status. An all-electric system provides the heating and cooling and is supported by a heat pump and a solar water heater . + Architectenforum Images via Architectenforum , by Stijn Poelstra

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Lux cliffside home with a rooftop pool is designed to be energy neutral

February 22, 2016 by  
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