Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

March 26, 2020 by  
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Known for their love of infusing modern structures with an abundance of greenery, the prolific Paris-based practice  Vincent Callebaut Architectures has just unveiled their latest sustainable design. Slated for the Island of Cebu, The Rainbow Tree is a modular timber tower draped in layers of lush vegetation to become an “urban forest” for the city. Thanks to the design’s strong sustainability features, which include passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies, the tower will be a  LEED Gold design . Slated to be a sustainable icon for the fairly remote island of Cebu, the Rainbow Tree will be a 32-story, 377-foot-high tower built almost completely out of solid wood. The building’s volume will be comprised of 1,200  CLT modules , inspired by the local Nipa Huts made out of wood, bamboo and palm leaves traditionally found throughout the Philippines. Related: Vincent Callebaut wins bid to sustainably revive Aix-les-Bains’ ancient thermal baths All of the modules, which come with basket-style balconies, will be prefabricated off-site in a factory to reduce energy and construction costs. Once on-site, the innovative design will be implemented with several passive bioclimatic features and advanced  renewable energies . To save energy, the tower will be double insulated thanks to an interior and exterior cladding made of all-natural materials such as thatch, hemp and cellulose wadding. The tower’s name and design were inspired by the Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree native to the Philippines. To bring the nature-inspired design to fruition, the  timber building  will be clad in vegetation native to the island. Using plants sustainably-sourced from local tropical forests, the tower will be covered in more than 30,000 plants, shrubs and tropical trees. Many of the plants will change color through the season, giving the city a living “rainbow” throughout the year. The Rainbow Tree will be a mixed-use property, split between office space and luxury condominiums. Interior spaces will be flooded with natural light and include several vertical walls. Guests and residents to the tower will be able to enjoy the building’s eateries, swimming pool and fitness center. Adding to the building’s amazing sustainability profile, residents will also have access to an expansive  aquaponic farm  that will span over three levels. Combining fish farming and plant cultivation, the Sky Farm is slated to produce up to 25,000 kilos of fruit, vegetables and algae and 2,500 kilos of fish per year — the equivalent to almost 2 kilos of food per week for each family residing in the tower. + Vincent Callebaut Architecture Images via Vincent Callebaut Architecture

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Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

Architects envision a green, solar-powered skyscraper

March 19, 2020 by  
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Warsaw-based architecture firm  FAAB Architektura  has unveiled designs for the Vertical Oasis Building, a conceptual skyscraper that would use renewable energy to reduce its carbon footprint. Envisioned for densely populated cities around the world, the futuristic proposal features a conical shape with a facade built of materials designed to harness solar energy. Large round openings that punctuate the facade reveal an abundance of greenery growing inside the building. The Vertical Oasis Building was conceived as mixed-use development comprising retail, office spaces, hotels and residences that also doubles as a local heat distribution center for the surrounding neighborhood. Powered by ground heat pumps and  solar energy , the conceptual design promotes a new type of urban development that not only meets the needs of local citizens, but also uses technology and biotechnology to reduce its environmental impact and improve livability.  Although there are no plans for construction, the architects have identified the materials that they would use for the building. BIPV active panels and glazing made with “clearview power technology” would allow all parts of the facade to harness solar energy. The greenery that grows on all levels of the building would be installed inside multifunctional VOS WCC modular panels. This “green layer” would be used to help preserve endangered local plant species, purify the air, reduce noise pollution and promote natural cooling. The green layer would also be connected to an AI and machine learning program so that building users can monitor and interact with the system from their smartphone.  Related: FAAB reimagines Warsaw’s largest public square as a solar-powered cycle park “Harvesting electricity from the sun, lowering the building’s energy demand, the geometry of the facade creating shade where needed, these are the features creating the basic ECO-DNA of the Vertical Oasis Building,” said the architects. “However, the main goal is to change the environment in the vicinity of the building while making inhabitants of the building involved in the process; give them tools to be able to control, manage and enhance the changing  climate .” + FAAB Architektura Images via FAAB Architektura

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Architects envision a green, solar-powered skyscraper

Passive design helps this home adapt to rainforest climate

January 31, 2020 by  
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Building in extreme landscapes and climates comes with all sorts of complications, but one savvy architect managed to construct a beautiful modern home using the local environment to the home’s advantage. Mexico City-based architectural firm, Paola Calzada Arquitectos  built the contemporary Tabasco Home in the middle of Mexico’s rare rainforest using several passive features to reduce energy. What’s more, the home design was built using several eco-friendly and repurposed materials such as 3,000 recycled  plastic bottles  used for the kitchen. Unlike most of Mexico, Tabasco is mainly covered in thick rainforest. In addition to its humid climate, the area is often plagued by flooding , which causes complications for most construction projects. Related: Solar-powered home takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes in Los Angeles However, the area is pristine and idyllic for those looking to live among nature. Accordingly, the Tabasco house was built strategically using  passive features  so that the homeowners could enjoy a strong connection to the landscape, but feel protected from its harsh climate. Spanning almost 4,000 square feet over two floors, the contemporary home is laid out in an “L” shape. This strategic feature works two-fold. First, the interior of the L shape outside the home allowed the family to enjoy plenty of private outdoor space, including a large terrace, pool and patio. Additionally, the long extension faces north to protect the main living spaces from direct sunlight . As a result of the orientation, the ultra large expanses of glass walls allow for optimal natural light to flood the interior while the living spaces  are protected from solar gain during the summer months. For extra cooling, the home was installed with inverter technology air conditioners that run on solar power , further helping to reduce the home’s energy needs. The home’s exterior is a contemporary blend of reinforced concrete, steel and large expanses of glass. On the inside, the interior design is light and airy, with a distinctly modern touch. Double height ceilings and an abundance of windows provide a sense of spaciousness to best take in the amazing views of the large garden outside, which is planted with native vegetation. The open-layout on the interior opens up the space, letting the family enjoy time together at the large live wood dining table. At the heart of the home, however, is the massive kitchen, which was manufactured using 3,000 recycled industrial plastic bottles. Throughout the interior, exposed concrete walls and natural stone accents give the space a cool, industrial feel that contrasts nicely with the home’s natural surroundings. + Paola Calzada Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photography by Jaime Navarro

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Passive design helps this home adapt to rainforest climate

Zero-carbon home uses hemp fiber for innovative design

January 27, 2020 by  
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As designers and architects continue searching for innovative, sustainable building materials, hemp is becoming a front runner in the world of green design. In fact, London-based firm  Practice Architecture  collaborated with local hemp farmers in Cambridgeshire for the Flat House — a zero-carbon home built using  hemp  grown on-site. To create the amazing home, Practice Architecture’s team headed to Margent Farm, a massive 53-acre farming facility in rural Cambridgeshire that cultivates its own hemp supply. The innovative farm also has an on-site facility that produces bio-plastics made of hemp and flax . Related: “Cannabis walls” add warmth to this eco-friendly home in Israel Working with the farm’s experts, Practice’s team went about designing a home prototype to showcase how the eco-friendly material could be used on a large scale. Although hemp is now a fairly common material used to manufacture everything from clothing to biofuel , its potential for creating sustainable buildings is still being explored. Adding to the home’s innovative construction is the team’s use of prefabricated panels made from  hempcrete  — a mixture of hemp and lime. Built off-site, the panels were transported back to the farm and assembled in just two days. The studio explained to Dezeen, “Developing an offsite system allowed us to build efficiently, at speed and to build through the colder months of the year — something that can be difficult with standard hemp construction.” The resulting Flat House is an example of hemp construction’s potential. The roughly 1,000-square-foot home is not only carbon neutral , but also operates completely off-grid. Thanks to a large photovoltaic array on the roof and heating and power provided by a biomass boiler, the home generates all of its own energy. And for those who may doubt that hemp construction can be contemporary and fresh, the home’s aesthetic is also gorgeous. While creating the home’s frame, the architecture studio worked with experts at the farm to develop hemp-fiber tiles, which were used to clad the home. Each tile was secured into place with a sugar-based resin sourced from agricultural waste. Throughout the interior, the hemp panels have been left exposed, giving the living space a unique earthy look that is complemented by several timber accents. A tall ceiling and ample windows  enhance the home’s healthy atmosphere. + Practice Architecture Via Dezeen Images via Oskar Proctor

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Energy-efficient Indian home features beautiful greenery

January 24, 2020 by  
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Mumbai based architecture and design firm,  unTAG  has just unveiled a stunning home built for a retired teacher looking to spend retirement in his home village of Dakivali, India. Working within the man’s limited budget, the architects employed several low-cost,  passive strategies  such as building the home in the middle of a lush bamboo field to use the vegetation as natural insulation. Spanning two levels, the 1,400 square feet home was constructed using  low-cost , locally-sourced materials, with the main material being concrete. The resulting aesthetic is a monolithic exterior, which contrasts nicely with the surrounding vegetation. Related: A modern home in India stays naturally cool without AC In addition to the concrete’s innate  sustainable aspects , the home boasts several passive strategies to achieve optimum thermal comfort. Strategically located westward, the home was built in the middle of an existing bamboo grove. Abundant greenery envelopes the home, adding an extra layer of insulation that protects from the harsh summer sun. According to the architects, the large trees also help create a comforting microclimate for the interior, lowering the temperature by up to 5°C. The house’s entrance is through a landscaped courtyard with a large concrete  jaali  screen. A common feature in Indian architecture, the screen helps keep interior spaces private, while allowing pleasant breezes to flow through the interior. Additionally, the home was built with several seating areas, both covered and open-air, which let  natural light  filter into the living space. Adding to the home’s thermal mass, the various terraces are painted white to reduce heat gain. For the interior, large walls were built with  locally-manufactured bricks  and covered with natural plaster, while the floors were made out of natural stone. The home also features several rain collection drains that channel runoff into tanks where it is used as irrigation for landscaping. According to the architects, the main objective of the home was to provide a comfortable family home for a retired man to spend his years reconnecting with nature. The home’s simple but effective  passive strategies will also let him live with low operating costs, adding to his quality of life. The architects explained, “Inhabiting this meek abode, our dear client is a proud owner of a village home, exemplary of an affordable luxury, which he enjoys residing, nurturing and aging gracefully with it. This humble home of a farmer exemplifies that sustainability need not always come at huge costs, but can be practiced at grass root level too, through simple DIY solutions.” + unTAG Via Archdaily Images via unTAG Architecture & Interiors

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Energy-efficient Indian home features beautiful greenery

EWG warns forever chemicals are contaminating US drinking water at levels far worse than expected

January 24, 2020 by  
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Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, persist in the environment , grossly tainting the drinking water of many United States cities, like Miami, New Orleans and Philadelphia. More specifically, findings by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveal that the a 2018 estimate of 110 million U.S. citizens being contaminated with PFAS is far below actual numbers. “It’s nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals,” shared David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the report. “Everyone’s really exposed to a toxic soup of these PFAS chemicals.” Related: Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threatens global supply of freshwater PFAS are highly fluorinated chemicals that do not break down in the environment. The most infamous PFAS are those associated with Teflon and 3M’s Scotchgard. Much of the PFAS contamination is legacy pollution . In fact, both Teflon and Scotchgard were phased out years ago, but these harmful PFAS still persist in the environment — in soils and especially in water , such as the rainwater that supplies drinking water. Despite the original PFAS chemicals being taken off the market, they’ve been replaced by modern PFAS chemicals that might still be just as harmful, if not more so. These modern PFAS chemicals lurk in packaging, stain-resistant furnishings, water-repellent clothing and items, cosmetics and personal care products and firefighting foam. What’s worrisome, too, is that PFAS can accumulate in the human body, thus compromising health . Cancer, disease, endocrine disruption, reproductive issues, low birth weights and a host of other compromised health incidences are some of the consequences of drinking PFAS-tainted water. EWG is advocating for tougher regulations and laws to reduce PFAS chemicals in drinking water and consumer products to help reduce human exposure to these toxins . Some states are ramping up their efforts to reduce PFAS in the drinking water by banning PFAS-based food packaging or firefighting foam. But more work is still needed. + EWG Via The Guardian and Reuters Image via Arcaion

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EWG warns forever chemicals are contaminating US drinking water at levels far worse than expected

Two sustainable rental units dressed in reclaimed brick are self-sustaining through solar power

September 23, 2019 by  
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Melbourne-based firm Breathe Architecture has brought a bit of California flair to a Melbourne suburb. Using the empty space behind two existing Cali-style bungalows, the designers have managed to create two single, light-filled dwellings enveloped in reclaimed brick facades. The two rental properties were designed to offer the area environmentally sustainable and affordable rental housing that homogenizes with the local vernacular. Located in the area of Glen Iris, the Bardolph Garden House was designed as a building comprised of two rental units that blend in with the neighborhood aesthetic and each other. The simple, brick-clad volumes with pitched roofs emit a classic, traditional look while concealing dual contemporary interiors. Related: This home made of broken bricks features a series of rolling green roofs The two units are similar in size, both measuring just over 2,000 square feet. The entrances to the homes are through a covered courtyard and a landscaped garden area. The exterior spaces remain private thanks to several brick screens that also let natural breezes flow into these outdoor areas. When designing the layout of the two properties, the firm was dedicated to creating two energy-efficient units. As such, the project incorporated a number of passive features to reduce the homes’ energy needs. In addition to the greenery-filled pocket gardens that help insulate the properties, the gabled roofs and external steel awnings help maximize northern solar gain during the winter and minimize it during the summer months. Thanks to the region’s pleasant temperatures, the bright living spaces are incredibly welcoming. Vaulted ceilings add more volume to the interior, and an abundance of windows draw in plenty of natural light. The interior design, which features furnishings by StyleCraft and textiles by Armadillo & Co , is bright and airy with a neutral color palette that enhances the natural materials. Concrete flooring and white walls contrast nicely with the timber accents found throughout the living spaces. Additionally, the interior boasts a number of reclaimed materials, such as a repurposed timber bench tops and terrazzo tiles. Carefully designed to maximize thermal performance, the two units are completely self-sustaining. Their energy is supplied through a solar PV array on the roof, and a sustainable heat pump system supplies hot water. A rainwater collection system was also installed so that gray water could be collected and stored on-site for reuse. + Breathe Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Tom Ross via Breathe Architecture

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Two sustainable rental units dressed in reclaimed brick are self-sustaining through solar power

Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

September 23, 2019 by  
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An abundance of green will soon take over the heart of Paris with the transformation of the city’s old railway site, Ordener-Poissonniers, into a lush 3.7-hectare “ecosystem neighborhood.” The mixed-use masterplan will be spearheaded by Danish landscape architecture practice SLA and French architecture firm BIECHER ARCHITECTES , who won an international competition with the “Jardin Mécano” (“Mechanical Garden”) proposal for a sustainable urban development emphasizing bioclimatic design. In addition to the creation of large public parks, the neighborhood will include carbon-neutral architecture and renewable energy systems. Located in the 18th arrondissement, the new “ecosystem neighborhood” will pay homage to the former railway site by preserving its industrial heritage while injecting new functionality to the underused area. The mixed-use masterplan will include housing for 1,000 residents — half of which will be for social housing, 20 percent for intermediate and the remainder for private housing — as well as 13,800 square meters of office space, new school buildings, an industrial design incubator for SME, a nine-screen cinema complex, urban farming areas and plenty of restaurant and retail space. Related: Benjamin Fleury creates affordable, modern apartments with a low-energy footprint in Paris “The Ordener-Poissonniers project will act as a green generous gift to the city of Paris,” said Rasmus Astrup, partner in SLA. “In the transformation of the old post-industrial railway site, we have especially focused on the values and the qualities we want the new development to give back to the neighborhood. By combining the strong industrial character with innovative, nature-based designs and public ecosystem services, we create a new standard for nature in Paris — where nature is everywhere and where humans, plants and animals can live and flourish together.” To minimize the development’s environmental footprint in the long run, the buildings will be optimized for wind and solar conditions. Other sustainable features include photovoltaic panels mounted onto the roofs, planting plans that promote biodiversity and the use of natural materials and prefabricated low-carbon concrete floors. The project is slated for completion in 2024. + SLA + BIECHER ARCHITECTES Images via SLA

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A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof

June 26, 2019 by  
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Tucked into a rolling green hillside of Cheongdo-gun, South Korea, the Baomaru House by Busan-based firm Rieuldorang Atelier blurs the lines between nature and the man-made. Embedded into the sloped landscape, the home is split into two separate structures, which are connected by an expansive green roof that pulls double duty as a terrace for both sides of the home. Although the house is designed to blend into its surroundings, the unique design takes on a bold, modern appearance thanks to a series of gabled roofs that jut out of the landscape, creating a fun, pop-art effect. Once the residents and the architects found a building site for the home that was far from the hustle and bustle of city life, they were discouraged to learn that the back of the lot would soon be developed. As a solution, the architects decided to use the existing landscape to their advantage. Related: The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof “It is a general idea that the earth is a space that houses nature, and the house is a space that houses human beings,” the firm said. “In order to overturn this idea, we planned the earth as a space for human beings and the house as a space for nature. We did not want to design on the land … by cutting the ground or building up the soil. The point was to actively use the surrounding natural environment and land while complying with the slope of the land.” To work within the parameters of the natural topography, the architects decided to embed part of the 2,026-square-foot home into the landscape so that the structure would follow its contour. They also decided to split the structure into two parts, with one side housing the private bedrooms and kitchen and the other hosting the main living space. The two halves are split by a large entrance and underground garage, which is embedded completely into the hillside. Although the design was created to blend the structure into the natural surroundings, it takes a modern turn with a series of large white gabled roofs  that jut out of the green landscape. The bold modernity of the exterior continues throughout the interior living spaces. Double-height ceilings, white walls and light wood run through the home, enhanced by an abundance of natural light . With the bedrooms on one side, the main living room takes on a personality of its own. This structure mimics the same volume as the other but has a large cutout in the gabled roof, creating a brilliant open-air terrace that frames the views. On the bottom floor, the living space opens up to a large swimming pool that looks out over the mountains in the distance. + Rieuldorang Atelier Via Dwell Photography by Joonhwan Yoon via Rieuldorang Atelier

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A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof

Ingenhoven breaks ground on a hedge-wrapped green heart in Dsseldorf

June 10, 2019 by  
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In May, German architectural firm Ingenhoven Architects broke ground on Kö-Bogen II, a sustainable mixed-use development envisioned as the “new green heart” of Düsseldorf , Germany. Designed to visually extend the adjoining Hofgarten park into the inner city, Kö-Bogen II wraps the sloping facades of its two buildings with hornbeam hedges that total nearly 5 miles in length. The hedges and turfed rooftop spaces will also help purify the air and combat the city’s heat island effect by providing a cooling microclimate. Located at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz, Kö-Bogen II will serve as a commercial and office complex covering 42,000 square meters of gross floor area offering retail, restaurants, office space, local recreation and a five-story underground parking garage with 670 spaces. The development comprises a five-story trapezoid-shaped main building and a smaller triangular building that cluster around a valley-like plaza. The sloping facades, which will be planted with hornbeam hedges, open up the plaza to views of the iconic Dreischeibenhaus and the Düsseldorf Theater nearby. The architects will also be refurbishing the roof, facade and public areas of the Düsseldorf Theater. “In order to do justice to the overall urban design situation, the design of Kö-Bogen II deliberately avoids a classical block-edged development such as that along the Schadowstrasse shopping street,” the architects explained in a press release. “In addition, the idea of green architecture has been applied systematically, thus distinguishing the development from conventional architectural solutions.” Related: A rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapore’s Marina One Ascending to a building height of 27 meters, the hornbeam hedges will offer seasonal interest by changing color throughout the year. The turfed surfaces planted on the triangular building’s sloped facades will be accessible to passersby, who can use the space as an open lawn for rest and relaxation. Kö-Bogen II is slated to open in the spring of 2020. + Ingenhoven Architects Images via CADMAN

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Ingenhoven breaks ground on a hedge-wrapped green heart in Dsseldorf

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