Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

January 23, 2020 by  
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The Sun Rain Room is an extension and restoration of a two-story Grade-II listed townhouse designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu. Partnering with local craftspeople to complete the project, the London-based architecture firm was able to create an extension of the existing structure through a landscape that feeds off of the sun and rain . The house, which was built as a home and studio for the owner, features a green roof , garden room and reflecting pool that are all designed to uniquely celebrate nature. The garden room on the ground floor is encased in a wall of curved glass that works as both a living space for occupants and as a meeting area for the owner’s professional studio. The covered outdoor area connected to the garden room contains a studio workshop, kitchen, potting shed, recycling bay and a store. Another wall of sliding mirrors conceals the planter for a collection of small trees that grow through the green roof overhead. The neighboring open patio covers a basement refurbished with a new bedroom, two bathrooms and a utility area. The courtyard garden’s perimeter walls support a roof made of plywood cut to allow the most possible light into the site. Between the patio (which frames the terrace) and the house sits an etched glass staircase to bridge the two spaces. The true meaning of “Sun Rain Room” comes to play with the 110-millimeter structural shell roof that is perforated with coffered skylights made to mimic raindrops that land onto the pool . This creates an ethereal, organic environment inside the home. To make the townhouse more sustainable, heat loss from the ground floor is decreased through double-glazed, double-laminated glass with low-e coatings. Waterproof concrete was used in the construction of the basement, which removed the need for a backup waterproofing system. What’s more, the light-well from the plywood roof around the courtyard has improved the affecting passive ventilation strategy for the home. The green roof not only contributes to sustainable drainage, but is also planted with local trees and plants that suit the natural habitat to improve the site’s biodiversity . The reflecting pool is filled naturally with harvested rainwater, also used to irrigate the green roof. + Tonkin Liu Images via Alex Peacock, Greg Storrar, Tonkin Liu, and Alexander James Photography

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Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

Architect makes playful puzzle pavilion for Design Week Mexico

January 20, 2020 by  
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At the 11th annual Design Week Mexico, Mexican architect Gerardo Broissin created the Egaligilo Pavilion, an eye-catching structure made with large jigsaw puzzle-shaped concrete pieces. Installed on the grounds of Mexico City’s contemporary art museum Museo Tamayo, the boxy pavilion draws the eye with its puzzle-inspired form and bubble-like protrusions designed to deliberately obscure views of the interior. Inside is a lush garden that remains exposed to the outdoor elements thanks to small slits and perforations cut into the pavilion on all sides. Installed last year at the beginning of October, Broissin’s Egaligilo Pavilion builds upon Design Week Mexico’s tradition of using architecture and design to spur thought-provoking conversations. The basis for the Egaligilo Pavilion begins with the teachings of French philosopher Michel Foucault, particularly how the discovery of self is centered on a state of constant questioning. Broissin explores this “principle of agitation” by designing a space that juxtaposes seemingly opposite elements, from the inclusion of both traditional and parametric architecture to the concepts of the artificial and the natural. For instance, the rectangular pavilion’s puzzle piece-shaped panels seem to suggest rigidity and order but are contrasted with the bubble-like dome protrusions and further undermined by the interior’s curved walls. A large circular opening marks one end of the pavilion and provides the only view inside of the structure, which houses a surprisingly lush garden with a mulch ground. Related: This prefab weekend retreat made from shipping containers can be ordered online “The Egaligilo’s external structure remains light weighted and displays shape contrasts, it holds a living oasis inside, in which symbolism is exalted and gives the visitor the capacity to assume a new role, to reinvent him/herself following Foucault,” Broissin said in the project statement. “A space that originally should have been outside is held on to walls that are capriciously opened to light, but can’t be penetrated by the gaze. This quality demands the visitor to immerse in space, and once again, creates a tension between the limit of the public and the private.” + Gerardo Broissin Images via Gerardo Broissin

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Architect makes playful puzzle pavilion for Design Week Mexico

The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

January 15, 2020 by  
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Architecture is often heavily influenced by the existing landscape surrounding a structure, but architect Dan Brunn didn’t let the weaving waterways on his Los Angeles property limit the options for his home. Dubbed the Bridge House, this 4,500-square-foot home straddles 65 feet of natural stream without harming the landscape. The long, narrow home nestles into the forested background with limited street exposure. The focus on nature is evident with natural light streaming in from expansive windows throughout, a living wall in the living room and an outdoor terrace. In fact, the 210-foot-long home provides a wide expanse of northern exposure for more natural light and less energy consumption. Related: The Garden House features greenery and bee-friendly landscapes While the overall theme is sleek and minimalist, the pool area — complete with a full pool house, an outdoor shower, space for grilling and a Yamaha music room — aims to create an oasis for entertaining. But don’t let the luxuries and size fool you. In addition to the layout and physical situation of the home, each space was designed with low impact in mind. Starting with the foundation, the bridge design suspends a large portion of the structure, minimizing the impact on the landscape. For the structure itself, a BONE steel modular system was incorporated to ease on-site construction with sustainable materials. Plus, the system’s precision leaves little to no cutoff waste, and the steel itself comes from up to 89% recycled material . Although there was waste from the removal of the previous home, all usable parts were donated to the local Habitat for Humanity for reuse. The air quality inside the home is enhanced by the living wall of plants and superior insulation. A water filtration system eliminates the desire for bottled water, and solar power provides for much of the home’s energy needs. + Dan Brunn Architecture Via Dezeen Photography by Brandon Shigeta via Dann Brunn Architecture

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The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles

This lovely lampshade is made from cabbage

January 10, 2020 by  
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Lighting can set the tone of a room, so a lamp with a natural and compostable lampshade can create a cozy, gorgeous and sustainable setting. In a partnership between Indian designer Vaidehi Thakkar and London-based Nir Meiri Studio, Veggie Lights are just that — lampshades made out of red cabbage leaves that lend a warm glow to any space. A testament to the duo’s dedication to exploring and highlighting sustainable options, Veggie Lights offer a useful and elegant decor option straight from the garden. To create the lampshades, Thakkar developed the process of converting vegetables into a paper-like substance called Fiber Flats. Meiri joined the project with a passion for using organic materials, as seen from previous successes in using both mycelium and seaweed to make lampshades. Related: Algae Lamps are a work of art and natural shade in one Each lampshade in the Veggie Lights line is unique, a result of the natural variations in the leaves. Cabbage leaves may not be in the spotlight for intrinsic beauty, but through the process of separating the leaves and soaking them in a water-based color preservative, the originality of each leaf begins to shine through. The leaves are then shaped and left to dry in high temperatures, so all of the moisture evaporates. At this point, the leaves are either left unfinished, or the edges are trimmed and contoured into a gentle downward curve. The design of Veggie Lights places the bulb and electrical parts in a simple and streamlined base. This allows the light to shine upward into the shade, illuminating the natural veins and color variations in the cabbage leaf. Because the lampshades are naturally biodegradable, they will age and are meant to eventually be replaced. However, the base is long-lasting, so you can replace the shade at the end of its life for a refreshed look without producing waste . + Nir Meiri Studio + Vaidehi Thakkar Via Dezeen Image via Nir Meiri Studios

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This lovely lampshade is made from cabbage

These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

November 8, 2019 by  
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While most home gardens tend to conceal the roots within decorated pots, Ilex Studio ‘s new collection of glass vases displays one of the most underrated parts of a plant — the roots. The studio’s transparent glass vases, which can be used to grow avocado and oak trees, feature minimalist silhouettes with spherical bases that showcase the plant’s incredible root systems. Recently unveiled at the London Design Festival , Ilex Studio’s collection was designed to let people skip the prickly process of using toothpicks to grow avocado trees. Additionally, the vases can be used to turn a humble acorn into a magnificent oak tree. Related: AvoSeedo makes growing avocado trees easier than ever Unlike most home gardens , where the plants’ roots are buried deep in the soil, these glass vases let you watch the magical powers of sprouting seeds. The hourglass shape has a small neck, where the avocado seed or acorn sits. The strategic shape lets the seed or avocado stay nice and dry up top while the roots begin to sprout below. Did we mention that there’s no need to stick anything with toothpicks? Over time, the roots begin to spread out into the water. Letting the roots hang freely allows them to become stronger until they are eventually ready to be planted in soil . The bulbous shapes of the vases actually magnify what is going on inside, giving you an up-close view of the roots as they grow. The Avocado Vase is slightly larger than the Acorn Vase, but according to the studio, the growing pattern is similar for the acorn and the avocado tree. The oakling can be left in the vase for up to one year, but growing an avocado tree is a bit more complicated. They both come with instruction booklets to guide you through the process of growing your own trees, straight from the seeds. These playful growing vases cost between £22 and £35 (about $28 to $45), with the larger avocado vase costing a bit more and the vases sans acorns costing less. Each order comes with a 20-page handbook of helpful instructions. + Ilex Studio Via Design Milk Images via Ilex Studio

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These glass vases let you grow your own avocado tree no toothpicks required

Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

October 29, 2019 by  
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One of the biggest complaints about urban living is the lack of space to grow your own veggies, but this automatic home garden can fit in nearly any kitchen space. Recently launched on Kickstarter, Verdeat is an indoor garden system that uses soil-less, organic plant cultivation to grow up to 76 plants. Additionally, the innovative gardening system is made out of 95 percent recycled materials and is designed for zero waste. Although there are quite a few home garden systems on the market, Verdeat stands out in that it is designed to be flexible. The garden comes in three different sizes to better suit your needs. The system is arranged in a tower shape, made up of one, two or four stacked trays that use a soil-free organic system for cultivation. Each tray is suitable to a certain type of growth using a natural substrate (such as coconut fiber). For lighting, the system has an integrated lighting system that mimics sunlight and promotes faster growth. Related: This sleek lamp provides light and grows food Depending on the size, the trays are arranged precisely for seeds or microgreens but can also be ordered to include a tray of small potted plants, perfect for strawberries, flowers, peppers, onions and more. No matter the size, the entire system is designed to be user-friendly and produce zero waste . Better yet, the garden system is nearly 100 percent self-sufficient for weeks at a time. Almost entirely maintenance-free, the gardening tower only needs to be watered every 1 to 3 weeks. To make it even easier, there is even a handy app to take care of the plants while you are away from home. The app monitors the amount of water, energy and nutrients and adjusts automatically according to the needs of the plants. This precise system allows Verdeat to grow plants without generating unnecessary waste. + Verdeat Via Yanko Design Images via Verdeat

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Automatic, soil-less garden system lets you grow 76 plants in your own home

Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

October 18, 2019 by  
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As the crisp, misty mornings of fall greet the day, autumn colors emerge across the landscape. Meanwhile, your garden and flower pots begin to look barren and colorless as annuals die off and perennials go dormant for the upcoming winter. In most areas, though, there is still plenty of life left in the fall, even in the smallest spaces around your home. With a bit of planning, you can bring a new season of life to your porch, patio or balcony, even during the short days of fall. To get started, follow these tips for color, variety, texture and height variation. Color Fall is synonymous with falling leaves and bare trees, leaving a trail of red, orange and yellow along the roads. You can match the colors associated with the season using pumpkin decor, rusty red or gold mums, plants that produce berries, ornamental grasses and plants that retain their colorful leaves until late into the season. Grab a journal and list some plants common to your area that offer complementary colors. Then, add in some accents, like prolific white mums, silver-leaved herbs such as sage and evergreens like boxwood for a stable green color. On that note, remember that evergreens are a delightful option for every season and make a nice backdrop to seasonal plants that you can swap out every few months. This gives you a lot of options year-round, even with limited space. Related: 11 unique edible plants for your garden Variety Along with the plan for color comes a blueprint for variety. Your preference might be to have window boxes full of a single varietal. If so, great! If not, choose plants that contrast each other throughout the space. Include plants with different types of leaves, heights and lifespans. Put some in the window box, but surround it with potted plants, shrubs, trees and even an ever-changing vase of fresh wildflowers. Just be sure to choose options that can be pruned to stay small or are naturally compact. Even your planters can add to the variety in texture and color. Use galvanized buckets or watering cans mixed with colorful ceramic pots and a miniature wheelbarrow. Insert a glass vase with bamboo , surround plants with an old tire or carve out a pumpkin for a naturally-compostable planter. Use bronze, terracotta or copper to add to the fall color palette, and make them really stand out by surrounding them with white rocks. Texture Plants in nature vary from each other as much as the human face or fingerprint. Embrace that diversity to feed the need for visual appeal. After all, your garden space, no matter how small, should bring you pleasure. Mix it up — bring in some spiky leaves and balance those with the dainty Sweet Alyssum. Throw in some curvy-edged flowering kale, and place it next to your Aster that still might be in bloom, attracting bees and butterflies well into the season. Height Nothing adds variety and depth like a display of flowers, plants and shrubs of varying heights. This can be accomplished using supports or props. For example, use a window box. Then, place a table beneath it with potted plants ranging from tiny succulents to larger herbs . On the ground, add another layer of potted or planted options. Mix in small trees and shrubs if your space allows. You can also choose plants that are all planted in the same bed with diverse heights. Just plant the tallest selections in the back, so they don’t obscure the view of the lower-to-the-ground superstars behind them. Depending on how much space you have, you might include a dwarf conifer, Dogwood or slow-growing Japanese Maple. For very small spaces , use pots to contain purple fountain grass, croton and other plants. Also, use those long-lasting summer climbers to your advantage. Create height with the hops over the pergola, grapes covering the arbor or ivy up the pillars in the front of the house. Placement Another planning consideration includes the placement of your plants. For a back patio or areas where you still spend a lot of time outdoors in the fall, create clusters of texture or color along the edges. Plant a tree just off the edge of the deck and surround it with seasonal potted plants that sit on the deck, creating a vignette of eye-catching cohesion. If you spend most of your time next to the window near the front porch, invest in color within the frame of the window. For an upstairs office, load up the window box. If you’re going for curb appeal, make sure to include border plants to pull the look together. A simple display of a few potted chrysanthemums with some decorative gourds can spice up the entrance to your home. Hanging baskets are another option that complement your decor in any season and work in any space, large or small. Small gardens might present some challenges, but with the right plant selections, you can create spaces that bring visual interest and life to your balcony or patio throughout the seasons. Images via Shutterstock

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Use texture, height and variety to create pizzazz in your small garden this fall

Sustainable Alternative Lawns

October 8, 2019 by  
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The suburban lawn is a potent symbol of the American … The post Sustainable Alternative Lawns appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Sustainable Alternative Lawns

We Earthlings: 90 Companies Account for 2/3 of Global CO2 Emissions

October 8, 2019 by  
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Did you know only 90 companies account for two-thirds of … The post We Earthlings: 90 Companies Account for 2/3 of Global CO2 Emissions appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: 90 Companies Account for 2/3 of Global CO2 Emissions

Geometric pavilion with an inverted living garden holds court in a public square in Annecy, France

September 27, 2019 by  
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Almost 10 years ago, New York-based Behin Ha Design Studio erected an incredible green-walled living pavilion made out of recycled milk crates in the heart of Governors Island. Now, the plant-loving designers are back at it, unveiling a beautiful, inverted garden pavilion in a public square in Annecy, France. Installed in the Notre Dame plaza in the old city center of Annecy, the 330-square-foot Living Pavilion is a modular system of dairy crates. Assembled in a three-sided geometric shape, the recycled milk crates serve as the framework for the inverted garden. The exterior shape of the Living Pavilion, with its hipped and gabled roof, was meant to pay homage to the historic buildings of Annecy. With three immense openings, visitors are invited to enter under the pavilion to enjoy the suspended, lush garden planted on the interior walls. Related: A tiny, 96-square-foot rustic pavilion brings the outdoors in The geometric design gives the structure the potential to become a public or private shelter that is open to fresh air yet protected from harsh elements. The crates that make up the structure were strategically planted with drought-tolerant Liriope plants, which are resilient to almost any type of climate and can naturally cool the interior. Like the original installation in Governors Island in 2010, the most recent version of the Living Pavilion uses multiple milk crates to create a planting system for the garden. The drought-tolerant plants are initially cultivated in the crates in an upright position. Once the vegetation has grown, the planted crates are then installed upside-down to form walls. At the end of the Annecy installation, the crates can be removed and cultivated in another environment. According to the designers, the modular system creates a full-circle lifecycle for the structure. The design ensures that the pavilion can be easily disassembled and reassembled in another location while protecting the plants during the transition, allowing for regeneration of the same pavilion year after year. + Behin Ha Design Studio Photography by Aurelien Vivier and Behin Ha via Behin Ha Design Studio

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Geometric pavilion with an inverted living garden holds court in a public square in Annecy, France

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