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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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

LEED Platinum high-rise in Toronto promotes sustainable living

March 9, 2020 by  
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Aqualina at Bayside, a new multistory residence in Toronto, has just earned LEED Platinum certification — a first for a high-rise condo in Toronto and the second designation for a building of its kind in all of Canada. Developed by Hines Canada and Tridel, Aqualina was created as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the city’s waterfront with sustainable design. As the flagship condominium residence in the masterplanned Bayside Toronto Community, Aqualina is the first of four residential projects onsite and was completed in 2019. Designed as an example for sustainable residential living across Canada , Aqualina incorporates a range of energy-saving systems that result in energy efficiencies of 45% compared to the model national energy code. Energy-saving technologies include high-efficiency lighting throughout as well as a rooftop photovoltaic array that produces up to 30 kW of electricity and doubles as a shade structure for an outdoor barbecue area for residents. Aqualina also includes a NetZED suite specially engineered to produce as much electricity as it consumes. Related: Canada’s first net-zero carbon, mass-timber college building to rise in Toronto Most importantly, the building design encourages sustainable lifestyles. Aqualina is accessible by all forms of transportation and is connected to the Bayside Village community through an interactive laneway. A community garden located on the sixth-floor terrace offers residents the opportunity to grow their own produce while interacting with their neighbors. The surrounding community has also benefited from the construction, which emphasized local job generation and local material sourcing. In contrast to the site’s post-industrial origins, the redeveloped site makes human health a priority. In addition to the remediation of contaminated soils, the building is outfitted with low-VOC materials and finishes while the majority of waste materials were diverted from landfills and recycled wherever possible. Fresh air is continuously brought into the building through a high-efficiency Energy Recovery Ventilator. + Aqualina Images via Aqualina

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LEED Platinum high-rise in Toronto promotes sustainable living

Green-roofed Stonecrop home rises from rural English landscape

March 6, 2020 by  
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London-based architecture firm  Featherstone Young  recently completed Stonecrop, a new home in Rutland, East Midlands that’s also an example of how thoughtful architecture can draw new interest to declining rural communities. Topped with a sloping green roof that touches the ground, the sculptural building features two wings — one that houses the main living areas and the other for guest quarters — that wrap around a central courtyard. To reduce the home’s environmental footprint , the architects used locally sourced Clipsham limestone and oriented the home according to passive solar principles.  When the architects were asked by their clients to design a home on the edge of a village designated as a conservation area, they were initially met with pushback from the local planning authority. In response, the firm created a successful two-stage planning approach that not only detailed designs for a 347-square-meter sustainable home, but also showed how sensitive new construction could protect and enhance the surrounding countryside by preventing linear sprawl.  “Releasing overlooked sites such as these helps keep villages compact and distinct, and kicks against the usual housing development we see sprawling into the countryside,” explained Sarah Featherstone, architect and co-director of Featherstone Young. “This, coupled with the house’s two-wing strategy, makes for a more sustainable approach to building in  rural settings .” Related: Contemporary barn-inspired home adheres to passive house principles Stonecrop’s two-wing design also helps clients save on energy costs. When the secondary wing for guests is not in use, the clients can choose to only heat the main wing for day-to-day living. The principal wing is defined by its “buffer” wall of textured dry stone that provides privacy and thermal mass. In contrast, the three-bedroom guest wing, which is also constructed from the same locally sourced Clipsham  limestone , features a smooth ashlar finish. The two wings wrap around a central courtyard that helps funnel natural light and ventilation indoors. Large glazed walls frame views of the garden and meadow, while a natural material palette further ties the interiors to the outdoors.  + Featherstone Young Images © Brotherton-Lock and © James Brittain

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