Prefab Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre boasts energy- and water-saving design

March 26, 2021 by  
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Currently under construction, the Zaha Hadid Architects -designed Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre will soon provide the southern Chinese city with a stunning new hub for contemporary creativity. Located on a lake in the heart of Zhuhai’s Western Ecological New Town in the Jinwan district, the sculptural building combines four cultural institutions under one roof: a 1,200-seat grand theater; a 500-seat multifunctional hall; a science center; and an art museum. Built with prefabricated construction and energy-efficient technologies, the building will adhere to Zhuhai’s “sponge city” initiative for responsible stormwater management and is expected to achieve two stars within China’s Green Building Evaluation Standard. Slated for completion this year after four years of development, the Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre draws the eye with its latticed steel roof canopy that takes inspiration from the chevron patterns of migratory birds in southern China. The sculptural roof structure is constructed from prefabricated modules that are self-supporting, self-stabilizing and repeated across the entire canopy. Perforated aluminum panels in the canopy provide external solar shading. Related: Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub The four cultural institutions are arranged symmetrically around a central outdoor plaza. The larger grand theater and art museum venues will feature a lighter color palette than the smaller multifunctional hall and science center, which will be built with a darker palette of materials. Circulation, which includes interconnecting bridges and voids, emphasize connection with the surrounding promenades and civic spaces, including an external amphitheater on the west side of the center. To achieve two stars within China’s Green Building Evaluation Standard, the building’s structural components prioritize recycled materials, and the envelope will be wrapped in double-insulated glazing. Intelligent building controls and air quality sensors will automatically adjust the center’s interior environments for user comfort and energy savings. The landscaping and surrounding lake will use aquatic flora and fauna to naturally filter contaminates, and water-saving irrigation systems and stormwater management strategies will store and reuse runoff. Waste heat recovery systems will also help reduce water usage. + Zaha Hadid Architects Photography by Minmud, Slashcube and Methanoia via Zaha Hadid Architects

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Prefab Zhuhai Jinwan Civic Art Centre boasts energy- and water-saving design

Deforestation contributes to disease outbreaks, study says

March 26, 2021 by  
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A recent paper published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science has established that there is a connection between deforestation and the occurrence of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. The study indicates that deforestation has led to increased outbreaks of viruses similar to COVID-19 and also facilitates the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria. Of more concern is the fact that the findings also show an increase in disease spread in areas that are undergoing reforestation . The authors of the paper say that tree planting can equally increase the risk of diseases if not done correctly. The researchers explained that monocultures, like commercial forests, can kill native plants that provide protection against viruses and pests. Related: WWF releases report on avoiding the next zoonotic disease pandemic “I was surprised by how clear the pattern was,” said Serge Morand, study co-author and director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research. “We must give more consideration to the role of the forest in human health , animal health and environmental health. The message from this study is ‘don’t forget the forest.’” The researchers used data from the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the Food and Agricultural Organization, among others, to determine correlations among diseases, populations and forest cover. They found that from 1990 to 2016, there were nearly 4,000 outbreaks of 116 zoonotic diseases that crossed the species barrier to infect humans as well as 1,996 outbreaks of 69 vector-borne diseases. Previous studies have shown a strong relationship between the risk of diseases and proximity to ecosystems that have been destroyed by human activity. In particular, increased instances of malaria have been reported in Brazil, close to the Amazon rainforest , due to increased deforestation. Morand is concerned with the continued deterioration of the Amazon. Since president Jair Bolsonaro took over, logging and forest fires have been the order of the day. “Everyone in the field of planetary health is worried about what is happening to biodiversity , climate and public health in Brazil,” Morand said. “The stress there is growing. The Amazon is near a tipping point due to climate change, which is not good at all for the world ecosystem. If we reach the tipping point, the outcomes will be very bad in terms of drought, fires and for sure in terms of disease.” + Frontiers in Veterinary Science Via The Guardian Image via Martin Wegmann

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New Arizona highrise takes sustainable luxury to another level

September 7, 2020 by  
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This 12-story residential tower doesn’t just boast an impressive luxury highrise  condominium  design, but also an award-winning green building design. The luxurious 7180 Optima Kierland is located in one of North Scottsdale’s most desirable areas, with lavish amenities throughout and a vertical landscape system with self-containing irrigation. The building debuted a new  green  design created by David Hovey Jr., Optima’s president and head architect. The architectural firm has already earned a reputation for its unique buildings that marry design with innovation and sustainability. Related: A massive green wall grows up the side of this luxury Italian hotel Both the rooftop and ground level feature  luxury  amenities. The 12th floor Sky Deck includes a cutting edge design that utilizes railings just beyond the skyline to create a negative-edge view, giving residents the sensation of floating above the city. The top floor Sky Deck also contains the state’s first rooftop running track, a heated lap pool, various seating areas and a spa complete with cold plunge pools, a steam room, a sauna and hydrotherapy capabilities. There is also an outdoor theater, indoor screening area, a fire pit area and an indoor/outdoor fitness studio. On the ground floor, residents enjoy an additional gym and spa, a covered dog park and dog wash, a game room, a catering room and more. Sustainable elements include perforated panels on the facade along with sun-screening louvers to create textured shadows. During construction, builders used post-tension concrete and aluminum. A variety of energy-efficient and carbon-reducing design aspects, combined with water-conserving plumbing fixtures, give the building added eco-friendly elements. The building’s most impressive  sustainable  feature has to be the innovative vertical landscape system; built-in self-containing irrigation and drainage allow for vibrant, colorful plants that start at the edge of each floor and grow up and over the building. A six-acre park accented by a water feature and landscaped with  drought-resistant , desert climate plants surrounds the building. This green space helps reduce ambient temperature, creating a microclimate that lowers the temperature by between five and nine degrees. + Optima Kierland Images via Optima Kierland

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Green bonds are growing bigger and broader

May 4, 2020 by  
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The variety of purposes has expanded beyond alternative energy to green building and sustainable-transport projects. And that’s just a start.

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Green bonds are growing bigger and broader

As sustainability becomes professionalized, all professions look for sustainability skills

May 4, 2020 by  
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GreenBiz’s 2020 State of the Profession report illuminates the hard numbers measuring career realities for sustainability leaders across all industries. Among other things, the data show shifts to more engaged CEOs, increased investor pressure and a boost in hiring of sustainability professionals among the surveyed companies. 

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As sustainability becomes professionalized, all professions look for sustainability skills

Abandoned fuel tanks retrofitted for new Shanghai art museum

April 7, 2020 by  
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On the banks of Shanghai’s Huangpu River, Beijing-based practice  OPEN Architecture  has transformed five giant aviation fuel tanks into Tank Shanghai, a new contemporary art museum and open park. Developed over six years, the adaptive reuse project not only creates a new cultural asset for the city, but also helps reconnect residents to the waterfront.  Located on an industrial site, the five decommissioned aviation fuel tanks had belonged to  Shanghai’s  former Longhua Airport. As part of a greater revitalization plan for the city’s southwest region, OPEN Architecture converted the waste containers into a vibrant community art center with each tank housing different programming. The surrounding landscape was redesigned with long, undulating lawns that emphasize connections with the once-inaccessible Huangpu riverfront and can accommodate a variety of outdoor events, from art festivals to book fairs. At the heart of the Tank Shanghai design is the introduction of a Z-shaped “Super-Surface”: a five-hectare zigzagging landscape of trees and grasses that weaves together the five tanks and slopes upward to become a green roof for a built structure below. Two tanks are located above the Super-Surface, while the other three are set slightly below. The tanks were  retrofitted  to include a two-story live-house and bar, a restaurant and art exhibition spaces. The architects preserved the tanks’ industrial exteriors and minimized changes to the facades. Curvilinear outdoor pathways complement the tanks’ rounded forms.  Related: 10 shipping containers make up this modern, mixed-use structure in Shanghai “Tank Shanghai represents a new type of urban art institution—one linking the past and the future, reconnecting people with the natural environment, and fusing art with nature,” explained the architects. “It is an  art center without boundaries, and as it continues to assimilate into the life of the city more largely, Tank Shanghai will continue to facilitate and inspire the creation of more inclusive and collective cultural spaces.” Tank Shanghai opened in March 2019. + OPEN Architecture Images by INSAW Image, WU Qingshan, and CHEN Hao

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Abandoned fuel tanks retrofitted for new Shanghai art museum

DIY yurt could be the answer for true social distancing

April 2, 2020 by  
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In these trying days when social distancing seems to be so hard for so many, perhaps a change of living space is the key to finding some alone time. Designed by the team from  Woodenwidget , the Plurt is a lightweight yurt  that can be assembled quickly with just a few simple tools. What’s more, the round yurt offers a sustainable and highly insulated home that can be built in just about any landscape. While we’ve seen some pretty impressive DIY yurt designs over the years, the Plurt is designed to take the guesswork out of the process. The entire set up includes six curved wall panels, 15 flat roof panels and a door frame. Enabling an easier transport process, the panels, which are made out of exterior grade wood, weigh less than 45 pounds each. In fact, the entire yurt weighs only about 550 pounds. Additionally, the interchangeable panels are custom cut to ensure that the project is as low-waste and low-impact  as possible. Related: 7 cozy tipis and yurts that make you feel right at home Once put into place, the  wooden panels are bonded together through several adjustable clasps and sealed with waterproof wood glue. According to the team from Woodenwidget, the round yurt structure can be assembled by just one or two people using basic power tools in about 200 hours. About 16 feet in diameter and just under 9 feet high, the interior of the yurt is a fairly compact size, but the living space seems quite spacious thanks to an abundance of  natural light . Curved walls made out of plywood add a cabin-like feel to the living space. In addition to the large windows, a central skylight covered by a plexi dome can be raised or lowered for natural air ventilation. Besides the resiliency naturally achieved by its  circular design , the Plurt also offers several sustainable features. Unlike most yurt designs, the structure is constructed using the insulating layer as a structural element, which in return, reduces the project’s overall number of building materials. Additionally, the design’s highly-insulated system and natural lighting mean that it can be used in almost any climate. A Neoprene seal stops water leakage and a simple gutter system helps redirect rainwater from the roof. + Woodenwidget Images via Woodenwidget

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New Santa Monica City Services Building will produce more energy than it uses

March 23, 2020 by  
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The City of Santa Monica will soon welcome a new civic building that will not only bring the various municipal departments scattered throughout the city under one roof but will also fulfill the Living Building Challenge — making it the largest civic building of its kind to meet the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive green building standards. Designed by Frederick Fisher and Partners , the building will be a model for self-sufficiency and ecological resilience by producing more energy than it uses. Scheduled to open to the public in April 2020, the 50,200-square-foot Santa Monica Services Building was designed to surpass “even the highest LEED certification requirements,” according to its press release. To meet those ambitious standards, the civic building follows passive solar principles and is equipped with numerous energy-saving and -producing systems, such as a series of photovoltaic arrays throughout the structure that total nearly 15,000 square feet, composting facilities and a rainwater recycling system. The building is the first structure in California to be granted the rights to convert rain to potable water onsite. Related: The net-zero Frick Environmental Center is officially one of the world’s greenest buildings The glass that surrounds the building aids in natural daylighting while also symbolizing its civic commitment toward government transparency. Its simple, rectilinear form also complements the original Art Deco design of the historic Santa Monica City Hall, which is connected to the new building via a courtyard. In addition to serving as a landmark structure for environmental sustainability, the Santa Monica City Services Building also champions financial sustainability. The building, which is planned to have a 100-year lifespan, is expected to cost less than the projected cost of the private commercial lease agreements that had previously housed the disjointed city agencies around Santa Monica within 30 years. The building was created in collaboration with BuroHappold Engineering and general contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company. + Frederick Fisher and Partners Photography by Takashige Ikawa, renderings by Frederick Fisher and Partners

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WOHA to transform polluted swamp into green university

March 20, 2020 by  
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For nearly 50 years, Bangladesh-based nonprofit  BRAC  has championed change for good, and now the NGO will take its do-gooding a big step forward with the establishment of BRAC University in Dhaka. Designed by Singaporean architecture firm  WOHA , the university will be a beacon of environmental and social sustainability as well as a catalyst for positive change in the local community. Slated for completion in 2021, the development will accommodate over 10,000 students on a site that has been remediated from polluted swampland.  In addition to serving as a place of learning, BRAC University will become a showcase of sustainable low-tech solutions for mitigating Bangladesh’s intense summers and heavy monsoons. Key to the design will be the abundance of greenery that blankets the building, which translates to over 26,000 square meters of landscaping that grows both vertically and horizontally to help cut out glare and dust and promote natural cooling to reduce dependence on air conditioning. The architects will also remediate the swamp grounds into a bio-retention pond filled with lush native landscaping that will further enhance a comfortably cool microclimate through evaporate cooling.  Due to Dhaka’s density, the roughly 88,000-square-meter university will rise to a total of 13 stories. Rooms will be based on nine-by-nine-meter structural  modules  to ensure flexibility so that classrooms can combine to former larger units or be subdivided as needed. A “single-room-thick design” also gives every classroom easy access to cross ventilation and daylighting. Gathering spaces will be open and airy yet sheltered from the elements.  Related: WOHA revamps Singapore office with lush ‘pocket parks’ A large recreational sky park known as the “University Green” will crown the roof of the university and comprise a recreational field, a swimming pool and a 200-meter running track beneath a large photovoltaic canopy. Harvested  solar  energy will be used to power giant High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) fans, common area lights and student laptops.  + WOHA Images via WOHA

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WOHA to transform polluted swamp into green university

Northern Chinas largest bamboo pavilion covers nearly half an acre

March 17, 2020 by  
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After years of building bamboo houses across rural China, Italian architect Mauricio Cardenas Laverde completed his largest bamboo project yet — the Bamboo Eye pavilion, a 1,600-square-meter structure constructed entirely from 5,000 locally sourced moso bamboo poles. Completed last April for the 2019 International Horticultural Exhibition in Beijing, the new pavilion is the largest of its kind ever built in northern China, according to the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) . The massive pavilion was created to house programmatic activity while showcasing the architectural possibilities of bamboo in modern, low-carbon construction. Created to follow the INBAR Garden’s theme of “Bamboo and Rattan for Green Growth,” the Bamboo Eye Pavilion shows off the tensile strength of bamboo, which is greater than that of mild steel. China, which is home to over 6 million hectares of bamboo, has used bamboo for construction for thousands of years. Modern construction in the country, however, mainly depends on steel and concrete. In an effort to promote the use of bamboo for sustainable development, INBAR teamed up with Laverde to show how bamboo could replace steel and wood and thus reduce pressures on forest resources. Related: Turtle-inspired bamboo shelter contracts to half its size in case of extreme weather “We have to change the way we think about construction,” Laverde said. “If we used natural building materials in cities and changed our mindset, then it would be easy to rebuild every few decades without the huge cost of today.” The organic form of the Bamboo Eye pavilion is achieved with bamboo arches, which span 32 meters in length and 9 meters in height. The arches were bent and formed by fire baking, a process that turns the bamboo to a golden yellow and expands the material’s lifespan to 30 years. Lightweight yet strong, the truss arch structure is also sturdy enough to bear the weight of a green roof , which helps blend the building in with the nearby bamboo forest. The self-ventilating interior houses an auditorium and exhibition area. The Bamboo Pavilion was built for the International Horticultural Exhibition that was held from April to October 2019.  + Mauricio Cardenas Laverde Images via INBAR

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Northern Chinas largest bamboo pavilion covers nearly half an acre

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