WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion

September 10, 2021 by  
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The net-zero energy Singapore Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai advocates green architecture and showcases the possibilities of integrating nature within urban environments. Displaying lush greenery, digital solutions and art, the Pavilion exemplifies Singapore’s vision of sustainable development to become a “City in Nature.” The Pavilion features extensive, multi-layered greenery, achieved by the careful planting of more than 170 plant varieties and large mature trees. Constructed by  WOHA , the building is titled “Nature. Nurture. Future.” It’s set to debut on October 1. Related: WOHA to transform polluted swamp into green university WOHA has designed a striking pavilion with hanging gardens . The building is orientated around three central cones on three levels. At the top is a solar canopy. Vertical walls of plants envelop visitors in an inviting three-dimensional green space that provides a cool respite from the buzz and excitement of the Expo grounds. Landscape design and digital and art elements are helmed by Singapore landscape architecture firm  Salad Dressing , in close partnership with WOHA. The planting strategy for the Pavilion includes plants from diverse, unique habitats from the natural heritage of Singapore, including varieties found in the tropical rainforest , freshwater forest streams and mangrove habitats.  Dubai’s desert environment poses a significant challenge to installing such a biodiverse human-designed habitat. The Pavilion’s perimeter is protected by trees and palms that thrive well in the Dubai climate, mimicking natural forest layers to shade and shield the interior. Sun-loving plants such as Singapore’s national flower, the Vanda Miss Joaquim, frame the Pavilion’s entrance, where they receive the most direct sunlight. As part of water conservation efforts, potable water produced through the on-site solar desalination process is deployed through drip irrigation to minimize water wastage. Leaf litter is also used to replace water-consuming ground cover and retain water in the soil . Together with misting, the greenery helps to increase humidity and thermal comfort within the Pavilion.  Measuring about 70 centimeters in diameter, three climbing robots weighing 40 kilograms each will be deployed to traverse the vertical green walls of the Pavilion’s thematic cones. These prototypes from  Oceania Robotics  work in service of plant health. In addition to inspecting the health of the plants, they will also capture data for the calibration of irrigation and grow-light settings to help the plants thrive. The robots can recognize plants in poor health that need to be replaced. The customized planting palette and innovative technological applications used in water and energy management are design strategies that enable the Singapore Pavilion to achieve its net-zero energy target. Visitors are invited to participate in a generative artwork at the Galleria that allows them to visualize the performance of the Pavilion’s integrated ecosystem and how it impacts the environment. This generative artwork is a result of interactive mobile gameplay using the Pavilion’s data collected through the climbing robots and sensors. Players “collect sunlight” using solar panels to power the desalination process that will produce potable water for the virtual saplings, which then grow into trees to remove pollutants in the air. The gameboard is unique for each player and determined by real-time data from the Pavilion. Through this game, visitors can learn more about the Pavilion’s sustainable strategies. This playful interaction is also a reminder for visitors of how their actions impact collective environmental outcomes.  + Singapore 2020 Expo Images © Singapore Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai and Arthur Ng/National Parks Board

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WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion

House Lhotka brings energy-efficient home design to the Czech Republic

August 11, 2021 by  
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Sustainable construction is on the mind of builders, architects, engineers, residential homeowners and businesses around the world. A project by SOA architekti in collaboration with Richter Design reflects this mindset with  green design  elements and privacy in an open and well-lit home.  Located at Lhotka Prague 4 in the Czech Republic , House Lhotka is unique in the creation of a large home with an easily identifiable and functional central space. The house is purposely divided into four volumes with the dining room at the heart of it and a corridor that connects them all. Related: Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature Designers selected  natural materials  where possible with a reliance on wood and sand-lime bricks. These elements also work to connect the outdoors with the indoors, such as the wooden ceiling in the dining room that flows through to a terrace, garden and pool areas. Large windows and moveable glass partitions marry the central part of the home with the outdoor living space while inviting in copious  natural light  and ventilation. With attention to energy efficiency, heating is provided through a heat pump and a gas boiler for additional support. Radiant cooling is built into the ceiling to help control interior temperatures. Likewise, efficient underfloor heating makes the space more comfortable.  A statement by the development team explains, “Air exchange is provided by a pressure-controlled ventilation system with passive heat recuperation with high efficiency. The intensity of ventilation is controlled automatically using CO2. In the summertime, the system is used for night pre-cooling of the building operating at a higher intensity.” To keep all this in check, a smart system monitors activities and makes adjustments as needed.   From the northeast entrance, the central corridor leads to a garage and study with views of the  plants outside. The basement and second floor of the home provide plenty of space for the family with a master bedroom and three kid’s bedrooms.  For security, the home is mostly shielded from view from the street side, yet the large windows open the space up to the garden for a connection with the surrounding landscape without the need to hide from passersby. + SOA architekti Via ArchiScene Images via BoysPlayNice 

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House Lhotka brings energy-efficient home design to the Czech Republic

Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature

August 3, 2021 by  
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The clients for this home in the northernmost part of Minoh City, Osaka Prefecture, wanted the architecture to represent local history and culture while also developing a modern aesthetic in a space that closes the gap between indoors and outdoors. Architect Yasuyuki Kitamura honored the clients’ wishes for a sustainable home that spoke to nature with thin beams on the interior and large windows to invite in natural light and open up the views of the nearby Mount Aogai. Known as the House in Minohshinmachi, the home was situated with the south side facing the road, east and west sides meeting other residential homes and the north side opening up to a buffer zone for the landslide disaster warning area. Related: Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration The one-story house was kept low-lying in order to merge into the landscape without being obtrusive as well as to keep material and construction costs low. Builders used conventional construction methods, relying on wood and structural metals, which came together quickly for a short building period. House in Minohshinmachi was designed to ensure high seismic performance, resulting in the achievement of earthquake-resistance grade three standards. The designer brought elements of nature into the interior design with large pillars that resemble trees standing in the forest. Natural light floods the space with the entire center of the roof acting as skylights. Modern and minimalistic , the home also achieves excellent insulation performance standards while adhering to a modest budget. The project won the prestigious AZ Award and has been selected as the 2021 Architizer A+ Awards Finalist for Architecture + Living Small/Low Cost Design. “We have been searching for the future of environmental architecture, and our goal was to reconstruct the forgotten relationship between local character and the surrounding natural environment,” the architect explained. “The result is a new type of building that, in addition to its high residential performance, feels more like a part of nature than a landscape.” + Yasuyuki Kitamura Photography by Masashige Akeda via v2com

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Minimalist House in Minohshinmachi focuses on nature

Colorful Peoples Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials

November 3, 2017 by  
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All the materials needed to build this temporary pavilion in the Netherlands are borrowed. bureau SLA and Overtreders W built the People’s Pavilion – a centerpiece of the Dutch Design Week (DDW) taking place in Eindhoven – using materials from suppliers and Eindhoven residents which will be returned after the event closes. The only exception is the faceted upper façade, which is made of plastic household waste materials collected by Eindhoven residents. The People’s Pavilion will function as the main pavilion of the World Design Event in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, which provides a platform for future makers from all over the world. It will also be used as a meeting place and hang-out for visitors and serves as a venue for music and theater. Related: Spectacular origami pavilion made of recycled plastic pops up in Columbus, Indiana The 269-square-foot (25-square-meter) building can accommodate 200 seated or 600 standing people. Its structure is based on 12 concrete foundation piles and 19 wooden frames, designed in collaboration with Arup. Steel straps hold together wooden beams , while concrete piles and frames are connected with 350 tensioning straps. The glass roof resembles those used in the greenhouse industry. Related: The Folkets House is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs Colorful plastic tiles cover the upper façade of the building and are made from recycled plastic household waste . Leftovers from a refurbishment of BOL.com’s headquarters were used for the glass portion of the façade on the ground floor and will be reused for a new office space after the Dutch Design Week concludes. All the materials, including concrete slabs used for the podium, lighting, heating and bar are borrowed. + bureau SLA + Overtreders W + Dutch Design Week 

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Colorful Peoples Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials

This beautiful home in Portugal was inspired by a child’s drawing

October 31, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous monolithic house in Portugal , designed by Filipe Saraiva Arquitectos , uses modular design to stay true to the simplicity of a child’s drawing of a house. Its geometry and materials not only reflect the archetypal image of a home– they also allow for optimal energy performance and lower maintenance costs . The house sits on a sloping piece of farmland in Ourém, Portugal, with a difference in height of approximately 15 feet (4.5 meters) from one end to the other. It is surrounded by natural landscape and overlooks the historic Castle of Ourém. Related: This charming home in Portugal is insulated with soil The design of the residence mimics a child’s drawing of a house, composed of five lines that represent walls and roof, while rectangular shapes represent doors and windows. In line with this simplicity, the main approach to the construction is based on prefabricated elements such as black concrete panels . The black concrete panels not only help the project blend into the surroundings, but it also reduce maintenance costs. + Filipe Saraiva Arquitectos Photos by Joao Morgado

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This beautiful home in Portugal was inspired by a child’s drawing

These hurricane-proof floating homes are packed with green features

October 26, 2017 by  
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These solar-powered, zero-emission floating homes are packed with green goodness. Designed by Dutch architect Koen Olthius in collaboration with Arkup , an “avant-garde life on water” company based in Miami, the livable yachts operate 100% off the grid and feature waste management, rainwater harvesting and water purification systems. The 4,350-square-foot homes are equipped with 30 kW of solar panels , 1,000 kWh of lithium-ion batteries and high-grade insulation. They are also extremely safe and, thanks to the inclusion of self-elevating systems, they can withstand high winds, floods and hurricanes. Related: Koen Olthuis of WaterStudio.nl talks about design for a Water World The 40-foot-long hydraulic legs can stabilize the floating homes or even lift them out of the water. If you want to relocate, two 136 horsepower electric thrusters can move the structure at 7 knots. Rainwater is collected from the roof, stored in the hull, and purified to ensure complete water autonomy. The 24×12 foot sliding terrace adds plenty of integrated outdoor space and is surrounded by shock-resistant glass panels, while a smart communications system (including satellite TV and WI-FI antennas, LTE and VHF) allows you to stay connected at all times. + Arkup + Waterstudio

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These hurricane-proof floating homes are packed with green features

Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year

October 24, 2017 by  
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Six years ago, Bjarke Ingels Group unveiled plans for a ski slope power plant that could provide the city of Copenhagen with electricity, hot water, and a steady stream of recycled materials. It’s a wild design, and we never thought it’d see the light of day – but fast forward to 2017, and Copenhill is nearly complete. The waste-to-energy plant is currently operational, and by the end of next year it will be topped with 30 rooftop trees, the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall, and a 600-meter ski slope. Inhabitat recently traveled to Copenhagen for a first look inside this landmark building – hit the jump for our exclusive photos. When it officially opens next year, the Amager Bakken waste-to-energy plant will process 400,000 tons of waste annually to provide 160,000 homes with hot water and 62,500 homes with electricity. The new plant replaces the aging Amager Resource Center, and it’s able to produce 25% more energy while cutting CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons per year. Despite the fact that the plant effectively burns trash, its emissions are remarkably clean thanks to advanced filtration technology – the air in the plant’s vicinity is actually healthier than in Copenhagen’s city center. The plant will also enable the city to salvage 90% of the metals in its waste stream, and it will yield 100,000 metric tons of ash that will be reused as road material. Did we mention that it’s designed to blow enormous smoke rings? BIG Project Manager Jesper Boye Andersen told Inhabitat that “The completion date is after summer 2018, we are still pushing for the smoke rings, and we have proven that the technology works.” The building’s facade is made up of staggered metal planters that vary in size and shape to carefully control solar exposure. When it rains, each planter will drain into the one below it to sustain a flourishing vegetated wall. Copenhill’s roof will made from an artificial turf material, and it will be open to skiers and snowboarders all-year-round. In addition to the ski slope, the roof will feature a cafe, a running path, and the world’s largest artificial climbing wall, which will measure 86 meters tall by 10 meters wide. According to recent estimates, the total cost of the plant will be 4 billion DKK (about $632 million). It was financed by five nearby municipalities that will benefit from the energy, hot water, and other resources it produces. + BIG + Amager Resource Center Inhabitat was invited to Denmark by Visit Copenhagen , which paid for meals and lodging for 3 days

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Denmark fires up its Copenhill power plant, with ski slopes set to open next year

40% of China’s factories shuttered in pollution crackdown

October 24, 2017 by  
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Is China at last cracking down on factory pollution ? The country’s Ministry of Environment inspectors have charged, fined, or reprimanded officials from over 80,000 factories in 10 provinces in the last year, according to NPR. One estimate indicates around 40 percent of the country’s factories have been at least briefly shuttered. Whole industrial regions have been temporarily closed in China, while inspectors conduct surprise inspections. They’ve cut gas and electricity to discover which businesses are adhering to the country’s environmental laws, and which aren’t. Some companies have moved their entire supply chains over to Bangladesh or India to keep up with orders. Related: Beijing creates new environmental police force to crack down on smog Michael Crotty told NPR in his almost 20 years in China, he has never seen a crackdown like this. He’s the president of MKT & Associates, which exports textiles from the country. He said the crackdown reminds him of America post-Clean Water Act in the 1970’s. He told NPR, “At that time, we in the textile business saw many dyeing and printing houses shut down because they couldn’t comply with the regulations. We’re seeing a similar process taking place here in China, and it’s much, much bigger. The disruption is larger.” MKT & Associates general manager Archie Liu estimated 40 percent of factories have been at least briefly closed in the flurry of inspections. Shanghai-based environmental lawyer Peter Corne told NPR emissions are now watched in real time, and fees are slapped on factories when they discharge more than allowed by law. He said implementation will be different – accomplished not by the environment ministry, which will only be monitoring, but the tax bureau. This is key because according to Corne, the country’s tax bureaus are supported by rigorous laws that tend to be aggressively enforced. Crotty said Americans shopping during the holidays could see higher prices due to the pollution crackdown in China – but that’s a small price to pay for a cleaner environment . Via NPR Images via Depositphotos

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Ultra-thin Macbook-shaped roof tops new Apple Store in Chicago

October 24, 2017 by  
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A new Apple Store has just opened in downtown Chicago—and it’s an architectural beauty. Designed by Foster + Partners , Apple Michigan Avenue follows the tech giant’s new ( and controversial ) “Town Square” store concept in which stores are meant to serve as community hubs rather than simply commercial spaces. Naming aside, the new Apple flagship is a stunner with wraparound glazing and an ultra-thin carbon fiber roof in the recognizable shape of a Macbook cover. Located along the Chicago riverfront on North Michigan Avenue’s ‘Magnificent Mile,’ Apple Michigan Avenue was envisioned as a bridge between the city and the river. Granite staircases that flank the store step down to the waterfront from the historic Pioneer Court urban plaza. Massive curved glass walls wrap around the building on all sides, while four slender columns support an extremely thin floating roof. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy “We fundamentally believe in great urban life, creating new gathering places, and connecting people in an analog way within an increasingly digital world,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “The design of Apple Michigan Avenue embodies this in its structure and materiality with a glass wall that dissolves into the background, revealing the only visible element of the building – its floating carbon fiber roof.” Interior stairs double as seating for Apple Michigan Avenue’s “forum,” the events space for talks about photography and coding, and hub of Today at Apple. + Foster + Partners Images by Neil Young

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Ultra-thin Macbook-shaped roof tops new Apple Store in Chicago

Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

October 10, 2017 by  
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This palm-shaped temporary pavilion recently popped up at the Enskifteshagen Park in Malmö, Sweden , as an inclusive space where refugees and longtime residents of Sweden can learn new skills, find jobs and make connections. The pavilion, named Folkets House (“People’s House), was designed for the Opportunity Space Festival in Malmö, as the winning proposal for the design competition organized by the Van Alen Institute , the City of Malmö, White Arkitekter , Skanska , Individuell Människohjälp , and Architects Sweden. Architects and designers Rik Ekströmof ARExA,  Gustav Fagerström of Walter P Moore,  Milad Barosen of the Milou Group and Nathan King of the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design teamed up to design the structure, which was influenced by Swedish 19th-century labor union buildings. Related: Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami The pop-up structure is shaped by curved wooden beams that radiate from its center and shelter a large space under a thin skin. It is meant to host a range of programs, workshops, and other activities organized by Van Alen Institute. At night, the building is transformed into a beautifully lit gathering space where refugees and immigrants can mingle with locals. “We believe that Folkets House will signal the beginning of new opportunities and inspiration for working people of all nations who come together in Malmö — Sweden’s cultural melting pot,” said Rik Ekström of the Folkets House team. + ARExA + Walter P Moore + Milou Group + VT a+d + Van Alen Institute Lead photo by Nazim Benli

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Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

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