Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

March 22, 2017 by  
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This ultra-green house for a Seattle family of four has achieved an exceptional level of sustainability without compromising on aesthetics. Shed Architecture & Design designed the Madrona Passive House as a net-zero residence for former Microsoft program manager and renowned environmental advocate Jabe Blumenthal. With a super-insulated envelope and passive design features such as heat recovery systems, photovoltaics, green roofs and stormwater and rainwater harvesting, the house minimizes its energy consumption and act as a stellar example of climate-friendly living. The 3,700-square-foot home relies on solar panels , high-performance construction and a contemporary design for its energy efficiency. A well insulated envelope which includes a Zehnder ComfoAir heat recovery ventilator that pumps fresh air into the interior contributes to its low energy consumption . This technology also recovers 90 percent of thermal energy from exhaust air for reuse inside. Rainwater from the home’s roof and the green roof on the garage goes into two cisterns via permeable pavers, while mechanical shading system and triple-pane windows regulate solar gain . The owners can also tap into the building’s real-time consumption by using the circuit-by-circuit energy monitoring system with dashboard. Related: Seattle’s Palatine Passive House consumes 90% less energy than a conventional home Achieving the world’s most demanding building energy standards – Passive House – the building is expected to also receive the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready and Living Building Challenge’s Net Zero Energy Building certifications. The project was recognized by Green Builder Media as winner of the 2016 Green Home of the Year Award in the Best Energy Efficiency category. + SHED Architecture & Design Via Green Builder Media Photos by Mark Woods

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Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability

Inflatable spiky pinecone-shaped roofs top this forest resort in Latvia

March 21, 2017 by  
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Spiky ETFE roofs  top this airy forest resort and spa in the historic region of Kurzeme, Latvia. 3GATTI Architecture Studio and OFL Architecture teamed up to design the Pinecones Resort using sustainable construction techniques and prefabrication , resulting in a fairytale-like woodland setting in harmony with its natural surroundings. The resort comprises cone-shaped units with inflatable roofs made from 100 percent recyclable ETFE that has a minimal carbon footprint . Lightweight and flexible, this material offers the possibility of creating dynamic building forms. The roofs will be inflated by a recyclable SPF sprayed eco foam with superior insulation and structural qualities. The laminated lightweight frames, made from locally-sourced wood, support the roof membrane and allows it to withstand snow loads. Related: Labyrinthine resort in Bangladesh lets nature take over The resort will focus on providing Blue Clay treatments based on organic and naturally abundant material. Different programs will be distributed across the site, with wooden bridges connecting the units housing winter tubs, saunas, therapy rooms and dining areas. In addition to the aforementioned sustainable features, the resort will also include a water filtration system, geothermal loops, and solar window technologies. + 3GATTI  + OFL Architecture Via Archdaily

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Inflatable spiky pinecone-shaped roofs top this forest resort in Latvia

Tiny Toronto lighthouse serves multiple functions at once

March 2, 2017 by  
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This minimalist wooden lighthouse installed at Woodbine beach in Toronto doubles as a temporary drop-off location for local charity donations. Portuguese design firm João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura wrapped The Beacon in aged wood to make it look as if it has been part of the beach for a long time. The Beacon, which shoots a vertical beam of light into the night sky, captures the essence of traditional lighthouses, while translating their archetypal conical shape into a single spatial gesture. Beside its role as a lighthouse, the structure also functions as a place where people can leave non-perishable foods and clothes for charities. Related: The government is giving away free lighthouses to the right owners The lower part of the structure acts as a repository for such items and features openings at different heights through which they can be easily inserted. While the architects hope the Beacon will become part of a larger, permanent network of donation hotspots in Toronto , this small structure can also be repurposed as a wildlife observation tower , a wilderness shelter or a fire lookout tower . + João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura Photos by Steven Evans

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Tiny Toronto lighthouse serves multiple functions at once

Green-roofed house for a pilot looks like a temporarily grounded aircraft

February 27, 2017 by  
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This unique home for a young pilot and his family in South Korea looks like an aircraft that has been grounded. Appropriately called the Flying House, it was designed by IROJE KHM Architects , who drew inspiration from traditional Korean architecture to create a delicate balance between sky and land. The architects combined the elements of yard, garden and rumaru, a traditional courtyard with a canopy , to create a space which connects the ground to the roof surface. The resulting sloped roof garden allows the house to coexist with nature, with a flowing design that establishes a strong connection to the ground. Related: IROJE KHM’s green-roofed house in Seoul blooms like a flower A limited budget influenced the choice of materials. By leaving the concrete framework surfaces exposed, the architects managed to utilize the structural material as the finishing material and lower the total construction cost of the building. + IROJE KHM Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Sergio Pirrone

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Green-roofed house for a pilot looks like a temporarily grounded aircraft

50% of Earth’s species face extinction by 2100

February 27, 2017 by  
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Biologists, economists, and ecologists have gathered at the Vatican to discuss what actions humanity can take to preserve Earth’s biosphere . Attending the Biological Extinction conference, these researchers say one in five species are currently threatened with extinction , but that statistic could skyrocket to 50 percent of all species on Earth by 2100 if we do nothing to stem the preventable carnage. The conference organizers said endangered species like the rhinoceros or tiger may make headlines now and again, but we’re largely overlooking the peril other living things face. In case we think otherwise, Earth’s animals and plants are vital for the planet and for us: they provide food and medicine, absorb carbon emissions , purify the air and water, and regenerate soil, to name a few functions. The organizers said, “The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring.” Related: First mammal species succumbs to climate change Paul Ehrlich, a biologist from Stanford University , blamed the destruction of the environment on the lifestyles of rich Western countries. He said, “Rich Western countries are now siphoning up the planet’s resources and destroying its ecosystems at an unprecedented rate. We want to build highways across the Serengeti to get more rare earth minerals for our cellphones. We grab all the fish from the sea, wreck the coral reefs , and put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We have triggered a major extinction event. The question is: how do we stop it?” Researchers will be at the Vatican today talking about economic and social changes we could take to try and save the planet’s species. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences are sponsoring the workshop, which continues until March 1 to explore several ecological issues. Ehrlich said, “If you look at the figures, it is clear that to support today’s world population sustainably – and I emphasize the word sustainably – you would require another half a planet to provide us with those resources. However, if everyone consumed resources at the U.S. level – which is what the world aspires to – you will need another four or five Earths.” Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Pexels

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50% of Earth’s species face extinction by 2100

Oregon Ducks hit a home run with ber-green Jane Sanders Stadium

February 27, 2017 by  
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The Oregon Ducks hit a home run recently with the addition of the Jane Sanders Stadium, a svelte new home for the university’s softball team that’s designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. As a beautiful example of sustainable stadium design, the sports venue features materials with high recycled content, prefabricated construction, and an energy reduction of 35 percent over the Oregon Energy Code. SRG Partnership designed the sustainably minded stadium that perfectly captures the Oregon Ducks spirit. Completed last year, the nearly 200,000-square-foot Jane Sanders Stadium was created as a gift from Robert Sanders and named in honor of his late wife. While sustainability and functionality were priorities in the design, so was brand integration. The University of Oregon’s identifying colors of green and yellow define the 1,500 fixed-seat stadium’s color palette. A canopy clad in home plate-shaped plywood pieces that sits above the prefabricated seating bowl and concourse serves as the iconic focal point, while its wing-like shape alludes to ducks in flight. Related: Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be NFL’s first-ever LEED Platinum venue The new stadium is integrated with the campus through enhanced pedestrian connections. The former ballpark’s history is also honored through the restoration of the historic Howe Gates that mark the entrance to the new public plaza from University Street. SRG Partnership designed the stadium to achieve LEED Gold certification and meet the university’s Oregon Model for Sustainable Development. In addition to a significant energy reduction over the Oregon Energy Code, the building also reduces water usage by 37 percent thanks to low-flow fixtures and smart irrigation practices. + SRG Partnership Via ArchDaily Images © Lawrence Anderson

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Oregon Ducks hit a home run with ber-green Jane Sanders Stadium

India could have its own Hyperloop system within 38 months

February 27, 2017 by  
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Past and present modes of transportation simply do not compare to the impressive abilities of  Hyperloop  technology. This efficient, low-cost vision of the future could be making its way to India in the next few years, according to Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) co-founder Bibop Gresta. He argues a system of high speed tubes that transport people and cargo could help ease the challenges associated with extreme population density and a dearth of infrastructure. Hyperloop technology involves a series of tubes with an interior vacuum-like environment, through which pods can zip from point A to point B at nearly the speed of sound. Forbes India interviewed HTT co-founder Gresta about his vision for the country – one he thinks could become reality in as little as three years. Related: BIG releases video sneak peek of Hyperloop designed to connect Abu Dhabi & Dubai “The Hyperloop is based on efficiency,” Gresta said. “The cost of creating it can sometimes be one-fourth the cost of a high speed rail, and the cost of operations can be one-fifth.” He also argues that construction and operation costs, as well as projected passenger rates of $20-$60, are based on American pricing and that these costs in India would be smaller. He has already met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief ministers of several states which his Hyperloop proposal would affect, and said the response was a positive one. Gresta said the country could have a functional Hyperloop system in place within just 38 months, once the project is approved. “We are ready with the technology and we can bring the money,” he explained. “We just need land and a commitment from the government of India.” A similar Hyperloop project is already underway in the capital of the UAE, where feasibility studies are being done to run the system between Abu Dhabi and the city of Al Ain. + Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Via Forbes India Images via Wikimedia , Getty Images

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Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

February 27, 2017 by  
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Spark Architect’s Tent House is a seasonal shapeshifter. Situated close to Australia ’s famed Sunshine Coast, the house’s location in a rainforest clearing called for a unique design that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. Limited by the natural size of the clearing and surrounded by a forest wall, the tent home was carefully planned to make maximum use of all available space. A large, open area houses a kitchen , a dining area complete with an accommodating table, and a living “room”, all with a welcoming flow that makes the home ideal for entertaining and for family living. A continuous corridor links the common spaces to hang-out nooks and multiple bedrooms, including two situated at either end of the house that feature picturesque views of the surrounding greenery. Although the area generally welcomes warm temperatures year round, the house was crafted for easy transitioning according to weather. The homeowners can manually slide open walls to welcome the fresh air as they wish; the roof also retracts to reveal the translucent tent canopy and expansive sky above. The tent buffers the home from sun exposure while still allowing for plenty of light to filter through. The space between the tent and the box-like structure’s insulated roof  encourages natural air flow. In addition to offering shade, the pitched tent canopy extends the home’s boundaries for play and relaxation. With the walls/doors open, the entire house becomes an open-air sanctuary, a perfect exploration ground for children and adults. Nature surrounds the Tent House in the form of trees, a river, and a garden area, but it is also reflected within the sleek space: a warm wood floor inset brightens up the concrete floor, and underneath the bar area, wood panels peek out to contrast with the industrial metal counter. The ultimate result is a shelter that looks like our childhood camping dreams grew up and made room for family and friends to join in on the indoor/outdoor fun. Via Uncrate All images © Christopher Jones

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Shapeshifting Tent House blurs the line between indoor and outdoor spaces

Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

February 23, 2017 by  
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Philippe Starck is one of the most influential designers of modern times – and he’s applied his signature style and environmental ethos to develop a striking new residential building in Ecuador . The slender YOO Quito tower, created in collaboration with property entrepreneur John Hitchcox, real estate developer Tommy Schwarzkopf and architecture studio Arquitectónica , is expected to feature several sustainable strategies, including low-impact materials, a volumetric design to mitigate solar exposure, and a number of green terraces to reduce the heat island effect . In 1999, Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox partnered to create YOO , design firm that works with international developers on high-end residential and hospitality projects throughout the world. Their latest endeavor brought together several international firms to design and build four new landmark buildings for Quito . Related: Philippe Starck’s New Wind and Solar-Powered Home Produces 50% More Energy Than it Consumes The YOO Quito building has a slender undulating silhouette with vegetation dominating its base and top floor. For interior spaces, the designers coupled traditional regional design with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Glass, metal, concrete , foliage and a neutral color palette dominate both the interior and exterior of the building. The building’s vegetal covers are designed to “obstruct, filter and reflect solar radiation,” according to Yoo Quito literature, “fighting the heat in [sic] sunny days and maintaining heat in the winter.” They also provide protection against noise. Transparent glass ensures ample natural light, while smart technology throughout further reduces the building’s energy requirement. When complete, YOO Quito is expected to be the tallest building in the city. + Uribe & Schwarzkopf + YOO + Arquitectónica

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Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

February 22, 2017 by  
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Design firm Arquitectónica transformed an 18-story tower in Quito, Ecuador into a slender urban sculpture that twists upwards to meet the sky. The building’s animated exterior is matched by a deep green interior designed by Marcel Wanders , and belongs to a larger scheme comprising four major developments conceived in collaboration between leading experts in real estate development, industrial design and architecture. The architects achieved the twisting shape of the tower by displacing the floor plates, generating the impression of movement. Nestled between two orthogonal buildings, the Oh Residences introduce an element of playfulness and surprise to the neighborhood. Related: Marcel Wanders Unveils Plant-Sprouting Swing for Droog The interior design, inspired by Ecuadorian flora and fauna , offers diverse spaces that reference three classical elements–earth, air and fire. The areas referencing earth use authentic natural materials , while sensations of serenity, softness and tranquility dominate the spaces where air is the main motif. Contrasts that combine crafts, patterns and colors mark the spaces with fire as the thematic guide. + YOO + Marcel Wanders + Arquitectónica + Uribe & Schwarzkopf

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Earth, air and fire inspire deep green interior of Ecuador’s twisted tower

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