A 1940s home gets a modern update with reclaimed materials

May 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Australian studio Porter Architects has sensitively restored and updated a 1940s dwelling in Lake Wendouree, Australia into a modern and light-filled family home. Large windows, contemporary furnishings and finishes breathe new life into the Ballarat property, but the clients and architects were also careful to preserve the home’s original historic elements as well. As a result, recycled and reclaimed materials were used throughout the renovation. Renovations can often be stressful affairs, especially when it comes to older properties like the Lake Wendouree House. Fortunately, however, clients Tom and Meeghan McInerney bought a home that had been extremely well looked after. Its previous owners were two sisters who had lived there for 60 years and kept detailed records for maintenance. Careful upkeep also meant that the original timber paneling and decorative plasterwork were kept in pristine condition. However, the home felt too dark for the couple, who wanted a home that not only was filled with natural light , but would also embrace the outdoors. To preserve the existing architecture as much as possible, Porter Architects created a contemporary extension that opens up to the north-facing backyard and timber patio through large windows and a folding operable glass wall. The Lake Wendouree House’s original front, which they kept intact, contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a study, while the new addition serves as the heart of the home with an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room. Unsurprisingly, the client’s favorite room is the light-filled kitchen that features a marble backsplash and counters. Related: Mid-century Dutch farmhouse gets a bold contemporary makeover To match the existing hardwood floors found in the original structure, the architects installed recycled floorboards in the rear extension. To give the traditional brick exterior a modern refresh, the architects added timber paneling and added reclaimed 1940s bricks in a contemporary pattern. The extension’s minimalist interior features whitewashed walls, timber paneling and furniture, and contemporary furnishings and fittings. + Porter Architects Images by Derek Swalwell

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A 1940s home gets a modern update with reclaimed materials

UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials

May 25, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of cocooning yourself in nature, this woven prefabricated pavilion may be right up your alley. Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio has unveiled the Ellipsicoon, a digitally developed and handwoven pavilion that can pop up anywhere as a sculptural and meditative retreat. The curvaceous Ellipsicoon was created as part of the pavilion series for Revolution Precrafted , a collection of limited-edition prefabricated homes and pavilions designed by the world’s leading architects, artists and designers. Inspired by the organic curves found in nature, Ben van Berkel designed the 160-square-foot Ellipsicoon with soft sinuous curves generated from 3D-modeling computer programs. Although the pavilion was designed and developed digitally, production will be done entirely by hand. Highly skilled craftsmen will hand-weave the Ellipsicoon’s continuous sculptural surface using strands of 100% recyclable high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The pavilion measures 18.7 feet in length, 13.45 feet in width and 8.53 feet in height. To enter the Ellipsicoon, users must first step over the raised threshold to reach a sunken area with built-in seating that follows the fluid curves of the space. The round openings on either side taper inwards near the top to create the sensation of being simultaneously inside and outside. Gaps in the woven structure let in natural light while the two differently sized elliptical openings frame views of the outdoors. Related: Ron Arad designs the modular Armadillo Tea Pavilion for indoor and outdoor use “I have long been interested in exploring spaces which extend function to replace the reality of the everyday with the potential for more nuanced, reflective experiences,” van Berkel said. “The Ellipsicoon offers a place of temporary disengagement, where the practicalities, duties and interruptions of daily life can momentarily fade and the imagination can take over.” Revolution Precrafted will produce limited quantities of the Ellipsicoon. The price and additional details about the pavilion are available upon request . + UNStudio Images via Revolution Precrafted

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UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials

Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

In a bid to create affordable office space in Amsterdam , Dutch architect Julius Taminiau has upcycled a series of shipping containers into Startup Village, a temporary cargotecture hub for fledgling companies. Located in Amsterdam Science Park, the container buildings are stacked and painted in a variety of colors to create a space that can adapt to different needs. In addition to offices, the Startup Village offers space for events and gatherings ranging from networking parties to outdoor cinema nights. Architect Julius Taminiau was inspired to experiment with cargotecture during his time at London-based Carl Turner Architects , where he worked on Pop Brixton, a project that transformed a derelict space into a shipping container community. After moving to the Netherlands and opening his own firm—Julius Taminiau Architects—Taminiau decided to create a low-cost office space for startups in Amsterdam Science Park. The architect arranged the upcycled containers around a large communal square conducive to events and designed the hallways and circulation to take place outside the containers in order to encourage interaction between different startups. Since the project is meant to be temporary, Startup Village was constructed with recyclable materials and an easily removable concrete tile foundation. The 155-square-foot containers are completely insulated, airtight, and heated with low-energy, infrared heating. Windows installed on both sides of each container can be opened for cross-ventilation. Taminiau collaborated with Green Art Solutions to install green roofs and other greenery on-site. Related: Repurposed shipping containers make a bold statement at the National Theater Company of Korea “The ‘low-cost’ ‘low-energy’ ‘circular’ upcycled shipping containers provide some sort of ‘free’ atmosphere where young startups feel soon at home and provide the means to develop, innovate, grow and professionalise,” explains Julius Taminiau Architects. “Should a startup need more space they can move within the Startup Village but also within the campus area of Science Park.” The Startup Village also plans to add larger containers in the future for scale-ups. + Julius Taminiau Architects Via Dezeen Images via Julius Taminiau Architects

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Shipping container village for startups pops up in Amsterdam

This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Green

When it comes to home design, architects around the world are forgoing the conventional for the experimental – all in the name of passive design . For a brilliant example, look no further than Ma of Wind, a unique concrete home from Japanese firm  Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects  with north and south facades made out of steel mesh. Over time, the mesh will be covered with plants to help shade the interior during the hot summer months. Located on Japan’s Okinawa Island, the Ma of Wind home is a daring attempt to bring outdoor elements into the interior as much as possible. Using the island’s traditional vernacular for inspiration, the architects explain that the design concept was “characterized by a respect towards the natural environment, and maintaining harmony between man and nature.” Related: A Minimalist Steel “Green Box” Home that Puts Nature First in Vietnam The structure is made out of a reinforced concrete shell chosen for its resilience against typhoons, a fairly common occurrence in the area. Additionally, the home uses several passive design features to cool the interior during the hot and humid summer months. The open walls on either side of the home open the space to optimal ventilation and natural lighting on the interior. Additionally, extra-large eaves were placed over the terraces to provide extra shade during the summer months. Without a doubt, however, the home’s most striking feature is its steel mesh facade . The architects hung two mesh walls on the north and south facades of the home; these walls will serve as trellises for climbing plants over the years, providing a natural shade system for the building. During the winter when some of the plants lose their leaves, daylight will stream through the interior. “Depending on the season, vegetation engulfs the house, fusing architecture with nature,” the studio explained. The architects based the interior layout on that of traditional Japanese homes . An open living space and kitchen make up the heart of the house, which is flanked by large terraces on either side. The bedrooms are laid out perpendicular to the main living area and have sliding glass doors that open up the rooms to the exterior. The home creates as much of a connection with the island’s natural climate as possible, no matter how harsh. “Sun, wind, water, and the unique climatic features of Okinawa Island together modeled the design as a space exposed to the prevailing winds, looking to south and north for enhancing natural ventilation,” the architects said. + Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects Via Dezeen Images via Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects

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This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature

Chinas first Slow Food Village will promote local foods and traditions

May 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Rural-urban migration in China is at an all-time high, with experts estimating an influx of 243 million migrants to Chinese cities by 2025 . In a bid to combat this wave of migration and raise living standards for farmers, Stefano Boeri Architetti  designed Slow Food Freespace, China’s first Slow Village that follows the philosophy of the Slow Food Movement. The Slow Village pilot project will be presented this week at the 16th Venice Biennial. Founded in Italy in 1986, the Slow Food Movement has grown into a worldwide campaign that promotes local food, traditional cooking and sustainability in agricultural economies. Inspired by this vision, Stefano Boeri Architetti created a Slow Village program for China that comprises three cultural epicenters — a school , a library and a small museum — that would be built in each village and serve as hubs for disseminating farming knowledge and celebrating each area’s unique cultural characteristics. “We easily forget that the rural areas provide sustainability to our daily lives,” Stefano Boeri said. “It is an inevitable necessity of architecture to confront the speed of evolution while also feeding it with the richness of the past. For this reason, we have proposed to enhance the agricultural villages with a system of small but precious catalysts of local culture, able to improve the lives of the residents.” Related: NYC Design Collaborative Shows Communities How To Cook with Ingredients from the Sidewalk The first Chinese Slow Village will be located in Qiyan, in the Southwest province of Sichuan. Stefano Boeri Architetti China will provide its services pro-bono for the design and construction of the first pilot system, including the library, school and museum. Likened to a “single organic accelerator,” the three buildings will teach about the preparation, consumption and supply of food, as well as ancient and deeply rooted food traditions. The Slow Villages are also expected to spur and accommodate tourism. The Slow Food Freespace presentation will take place at the Venice Biennial  on May 25, 2018. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Chinas first Slow Food Village will promote local foods and traditions

These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

May 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

New York-based Fiedler Marciano Architecture has unveiled a pair of gorgeous artist studios set on 450 acres of idyllic forested landscape. Created for students of the I-Park Foundation ‘s in-residence art program, the design concept is a modern take on the local New England vernacular of pitched roofs and wood siding. The studios emit a strong sense of serenity and privacy and are strategically crafted for contemplation and creation. Located just outside of East Haddam, Connecticut, the cabins host students who are enrolled in the I-Park Foundation’s live-in residential program. The architects worked with the foundation’s organizers to design a private, tranquil work environment for young artists . According to the program description, “From May through November, artists of every stripe come for a month to live, work and commune with colleagues — and all in a much cherished, serene and ‘distraction free’ environment. The place affects the work, and the work most certainly affects the place, with the ephemeral art that populates the woods, fields, trails and pond creating a perpetual sense of discovery and delight.” Related: 6 Brilliant Studios Perfect For The Eco Artist Each artist studio is approximately 1,000 square feet. The exterior is clad in dark cedar siding and topped with galvanized metal roofs that slant to pay homage to the pitched roofs traditionally found in the area. Both studios have wide front porches, which offer residents a quiet place for contemplation. They are also steps away from a network of walking paths that lead through the forest. Inside, an expansive north-facing glass wall creates a strong connection with the bucolic surroundings. Both studios take advantage of  natural light , which fills the interior from early morning until late afternoon. The designers intentionally left the walls blank, so the students could display their works of art. + Fiedler Marciano Architecture + I-Park Foundation Photography by Chris Cooper via Fiedler Marciano Architecture

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These gorgeous tiny art studios are surrounded by New England forest

An old 1930s home gets a modern makeover into a cozy beach cabin

May 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig is no stranger to cabin design, having completed many beautiful retreats across the Pacific Northwest. So, when Alan Maskin, principal and owner of Olson Kundig, decided to a renovate and expand an original 1938 beach cabin on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the results were nothing short of spectacular. In keeping with Maskin’s love for “the various uses of history,” the Agate Pass Cabin deftly combines the spirit of the 1930s with a modern refresh. Located on the shore overlooking Agate Pass, the Agate Pass Cabin came about when Maskin began searching for a home located between his “work life and love life,” formerly separated by a three-hour commute. It was then that he found a rundown 1930s cabin that won him over with its nice proportions, stained wood interiors and potential. The original structure was only one-story with low ceilings and an attic. Maskin expanded the property to 1,100 square feet and added a second story fronted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that frame views of the water and Agate Pass. The second floor also opens up to a small terrace built atop the original screened-in porch, which was converted into a dining room and office. The existing interior was clad in wide planks of Douglas Fir  — a plentiful and popular material choice in the area 100 years ago. Whenever those panels were removed or altered, Maskin repurposed them into everything from cabinetry to ceilings. Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials “Throughout the design, Maskin worked to make the different construction periods legible,” Olson Kundig said. “Modern additions are demarcated with different wood types from the original planks, making it clear to see what was ‘then’ and what is ‘now.’” To develop a spacious feel, Maskin removed the attic and the living room’s low ceiling to create a cathedral ceiling that soars to 17 feet tall at the gable. The design team added new foundations and made seismic upgrades. Maskin also designed most of the built-in furniture and cabinets, much of it made with glulam plywood . + Olson Kundig Images by Aaron Leitz and Kevin Scott/Olson Kundig

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An old 1930s home gets a modern makeover into a cozy beach cabin

Exxon aims to cut methane emissions 15% by 2020

May 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Green

ExxonMobil isn’t typically known for climate action , but the world’s biggest publicly traded oil and gas company is now fighting climate change with greenhouse gas reduction measures. The oil and gas giant recently announced measures to lower greenhouse gas emissions , including a 15 percent drop in methane emissions , in an effort to address climate change. To slash methane emissions, Exxon is drawing on multiple initiatives, one of which is leak-detection-and-repair efforts at XTO Energy , an Exxon subsidiary focused on shale . According to the company, operational improvements at production and midstream sites in the United States, combined with the leak-detection-and-repair efforts, have lowered methane emissions by around two percent in the last year. Exxon thinks it will reach the 15 percent target with these initiatives and “additional measures outside the U.S. focused on the most significant sources of methane.” Exxon also aims for a 25 percent reduction in natural gas flaring ; it believes the most significant reductions will happen in West Africa. Related: New Exxon CEO supports Paris climate deal, carbon tax The oil and gas company describes itself as “the most energy efficient refining company in the U.S. and internationally.” It said it has reached “a 10 percent improvement in energy efficiency” across “global refining operations” after launching an effort in 2000, and that it invests in lower-emission energy solutions such as biofuels , cogeneration, and carbon capture and storage. CEO Darren Woods said in their statement, “We have a longstanding commitment to improve efficiency and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Today’s announcement builds on that commitment and will help further drive improvements in our business.” Almost two-thirds of greenhouse gases released during the last 150 years originated from 90 companies . Exxon was in the top 10, according to a 2013 study from Richard Heede at the Climate Accountability Institute; he blames the companies for most climate change . + ExxonMobil Via Reuters Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Exxon aims to cut methane emissions 15% by 2020

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

Climate Victory Garden campaign aims to "Make America Green Again"

May 22, 2018 by  
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Want to take action  in the fight against climate change? Plant a garden! During World War II, people in the U.S. planted around 20 million victory gardens. Green America aims to bring the concept back with Climate Victory Gardens to combat climate change . Their goal is to help launch 40 million Climate Victory Gardens that together produce 12 million tons of produce . They hope everyday citizens will leverage their gardens as forces for change. “Instead of gardening in support of war efforts, we are gardening to fight climate change,” the Green America website states. Green America is encouraging people to cultivate Climate Victory Gardens as an individual way of lowering carbon emissions . The organization also encourages practices such as composting , cover crops, perennials and no-till to boost soil health so it will sequester carbon . Plus, local food tends to be more sustainable — it hasn’t traveled long distances to reach a consumer. To match the level of scale of victory gardens in the 1940s, Green America set its goal for 40 million Climate Victory Gardens. Related: Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’ Is 40 million gardens a realistic goal? A 2014 report from the National Gardening Association  found that 42 million households in America are growing food either in a community garden or at home. Existing gardens could adopt climate-friendly practices to become Climate Victory Gardens. “Americans want to take actions that have a direct impact on climate change. They are also increasingly concerned about the chemicals on store-bought produce,” said Todd Larsen, executive co-director of consumer and corporate engagement at Green America. “Climate Victory Gardens gives us all a way to reduce our impact on the planet, while ensuring the food we feed our families is safe and nutritious.” Green America’s Climate Victory Gardens map currently lists more than 275 gardens across the U.S. and around the world. Add your garden to the map or commit to growing one on Green America’s website . + Climate Victory Gardens + Green America Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Climate Victory Garden campaign aims to "Make America Green Again"

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