Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

February 13, 2019 by  
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As today’s urban planners are struggling on how to integrate renewable energy into existing infrastructure, some forward-thinking architects are making the task much easier. Beijing-based firm Margot Krasojevi? Architecture has just released a design that would see an existing oil rig in South Korea’s coast converted into a futuristic lighthouse hotel whose organic flowing form would be installed with pivoting turbines to harness tidal energy to power the hotel. The lighthouse hotel is slated for an area off the coast of mainland South Korea near the island of Jeju, which is only accessible by boat. Currently there is an existing oil rig floating in the water, which will be repurposed into a large platform support for the lighthouse hotel. Related: This futuristic energy-positive hotel will harness power from the tides The hotel’s design will be comprised of multiple flowing volumes made out of layered aluminum surfaces and a series of partly inflated membrane sections. These materials were chosen for not only their durability, but also their light weight. In case of emergency or rogue waves, the airlock sections split apart and float. Wrapped around the structure’s main core, a number of flipwing turbines will harvest the tidal power. As seawater crashes over surfaces, the turbines will pivot in accordance with the wind and wave motion, converting kinetic water energy into electrical energy. According to the architect, the turbines will generate enough clean energy to run the hotel and the structure’s desalination filters. Any surplus energy will be stored. The lighthouse hotel’s interior will have three main sections, the guest rooms, the lobby and various social areas. The lantern room, which is at the top of the hotel will have a Fresnel glass lantern that projects light rays out to the sea. The refracted light will also beam through the interior of the hotel, creating a vibrant, light-filled atmosphere. + Margot Krasojevi? Architecture Images via Margot Krasojevi? Architecture

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Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy

Concrete fins protect this visitor center from rising tides

February 12, 2019 by  
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When the Hampshire County Council’s Property Services decided to build a new visitor center on the coastal area of Lepe Country Park on the England’s south coast, it knew that it had to create a design with several resilient features . The building needed to withstand the area’s brutal natural elements and rising sea levels. Guests to the historic area can now enjoy a bite to eat in the Lookout, an elongated wooden and glass center surrounded by a row of concrete fins that will help protect the building against future rising tides. The design of the visitor center was strategically planned to provide a place where visitors and tourists could stop in to enjoy a bite to eat while taking in the incredible views of the sea. According to the architects, the building also had to be constructed to withstand the current and future climate conditions. “From the outset, it was important that the building had composure in an environment that can be both beautiful and brutal,” said the council’s design manager Martin Hallum. Related: Sleek fiberglass visitor center is a beacon for wind energy in Denmark The building’s elongated volume is comprised of two connected horizontal boxes with the front box containing the main dining area. The box at the rear houses the service areas including the restaurant’s kitchen, the administration offices, meeting spaces and a visitor information point. The center is clad in wooden panels, with the front area punctuated with a series of windows that let in ample natural light . The building’s large sloping roof hangs over the exterior walls, providing shade during the summer months and protection from inclement weather. A wooden open-air deck wraps around the sides of the structure, leading out to the east- and west-facing terraces. Picnic tables surround the building for those wanting to enjoy dining al fresco. + Hampshire County Council’s Property Services Via Dezeen Photography by Jim Stephenson via Hampshire County Council’s Property Services

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Concrete fins protect this visitor center from rising tides

This Australian property was redesigned with a sustainable, lush garden

February 11, 2019 by  
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The Shoreham House in Victoria, Australia was designed in the early 2000’s, but was in need of an update to the overall structure and gardens. The new architects wanted to update the home with sustainability in mind while respecting the original designers and builders. According to Tim Spicer Architects, “The renovation and addition needed a sensitive, well considered approach to create unity between the old and the new, without the obvious signature of new Architects. The design intent was to update what was already a beautiful house, yet make it feel like it had been built at the same time.” The new landscape takes full advantage of the lush surroundings, something that went slightly overlooked in the original design. It utilizes a deep water bore to provide water to the gardens, rather than using the local town water to irrigate. The 50-meter bore has the power to provide the landscape with 20,000 liters of water in a day. In addition to the sustainable garden, the architects also replaced the old halogen lighting in the house with new LED lighting, which is more energy efficient and longer-lasting. The new hot water system is solar-powered, and the windows have new Low-E coating which works to minimize the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light without losing visibility. They also installed new eco-friendly high R-value insulation and a new ducted combustion fireplace to make the structure more energy efficient overall. Related: A midcentury warehouse becomes a vibrant office for creatives Designers faced the difficult task of connecting the new guest wing to the master area without compromising privacy. As a result, they created a whole new staircase leading from the dining room and past the master staircase. The project was a challenging feat for the builders who used hand tools to blast through the bedrock under the house in order to construct the second staircase. To connect the master and newly-designed guest wings, the architects created a glazed bridge walkway, make-shifting a courtyard garden area with new meandering paths and green spaces. The house now has new large windows and glazed doors that allow for beautiful, sweeping views of the gardens from the inside. In the original house, the master area deck already had views of the ocean . With the intent of making the view more accessible to guests, the architects installed a “slow stair” between the master deck and ground floor courtyard. Via Archdaily Images via Tim Spicer Architects

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This Australian property was redesigned with a sustainable, lush garden

Reimagine a resilient future with this nature-based tool

January 30, 2019 by  
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Most Americans have personally experienced a federally declared, weather-related disaster in the last decade. In fact, the number is 96 percent of the population. Both science and personal testimonies indicate that extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency.  Naturally Resilient Communities  is an interactive website that allows users to explore successful examples of nature-based solutions to reduce risks and re-imagine a resilient and connected future for their own communities. The guide, launched in 2017, provides case studies and funding suggestions for urban planners interested in learning how to implement specific ecosystem-based strategies that address pervasive challenges such as flooding, sea level rise and coastal erosion. Naturally Resilient Communities is a partnership between the American Planning Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, Association of State Floodplain Managers, the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, the National Association of Counties, The Nature Conservancy and Sasaki Associates, with funding from the Kresge Foundation. What are nature-based solutions? Nature-based solutions, according to the site, are strategies that “use natural systems, mimic natural processes or work in tandem with traditional approaches to address specific hazards.” Ideally less expensive and destructive than “over-engineered” infrastructure, such as concrete sea walls, natural solutions protect and restore ecosystems that effectively filter and redirect storm water while providing additional benefits to nearby communities. For example, a healthy coastal marsh can reduce storm waves by up to 50 percent, and therefore provides a protective buffer for homes, businesses and infrastructure along the coast. In addition, marshes are an important habitat for birds , fish and other wildlife and can be used for recreational biking and walking trails. In turn, access to urban parks increases property values. It’s a win-win-win for the community, nature and the economy. “Investing in nature is both a viable way to adapt to climate change and a good way for the community to create the kind of future they want to live in,” Nate Woiwode of The Nature Conservancy told Inhabitat in an interview. “It is smart investing across the board.” Related: Bronx community garden transformed with sustainable improvements Naturally Resilient Communities provides more than 20 suggestions of natural solutions and 30 case studies from cities and towns that successfully use them. The target audience is urban and rural planners or decision makers and the teams that support them. The guide has been utilized throughout North America and the world to engage residents and visualize smart climate action that takes nature and communities’ needs into account. Other examples of solutions include preserving floodplains and upstream watersheds, rather than paving and developing within feet of a river. Healthy river ecosystems allow space for natural, upstream flooding in times of heavy rain and reduce catastrophic flooding in urban areas downstream. The online tool allows users to specify and filter their searches based on hazard, region, type of community (eg. rural or urban) and implementation price range. Users can click on various solutions displayed on a visual coastal landscape graphic to learn more about the benefits. Nature-based solutions include: Parks and preserves Restoration of marsh, reef, sea grass, beach or mangroves Relocation of homes and businesses in flood-prone areas Flood bypass Horizontal levees Flood water detention basins Trees and vegetation throughout streets, parking lots or roofs Bioswales Rain gardens Horizontal levees , for example, integrate marsh land with a below-ground concrete wall. This alternate approach to a traditional concrete wall provides a natural buffer zone, reduces the size, cost and maintenance of the hard structure and provides natural habitat with recreational opportunities, such as birding trails. The partnership behind the online tool hopes that by making the benefits clear and accessible, municipalities will feel empowered and motivated to integrate nature into their adaptation and development plans. Green spaces build a sense of community, slow down and redirect storm water, improve water and air quality, sequester carbon and reduce heat radiating from concrete during hot summers. Natural habitats provide shelter for a variety of species, increasing biodiversity, ecotourism and commercially important fisheries. Related: Sean Parker’s wedding violations result in new app for California coastline Numerous studies also indicate a profoundly positive psychological impact of nature and access to green spaces, including increased physical activity and health. One study from California indicated that 90 percent of minor crimes occurred in places where residents had no access to vegetated areas. Facing both rising urgency and increasing public support, cities and towns are interested in implementing sustainability measures but almost always lack information and funding. In addition to case studies and links for more resources, the online tool also provides suggestions for different funding strategies. “Counties are on the front lines of emergency response and preparedness,” said Sally Clark, president of the National Association of Counties, in a press release . “And we’re pursuing forward-thinking measures to mitigate risk and foster local resiliency. The Naturally Resilient Communities project helps us leverage natural and other resources to make our neighborhoods safer and more secure.” + Naturally Resilient Communities Images via Robert Jones , Lubos Houska and Free Photos

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MVRDV designs solar-powered KoolKiel with Jenga-like architecture in Germany

January 30, 2019 by  
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Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled plans to redevelop a post-industrial city block in Kiel, Germany, into an eye-catching, mixed-use complex that matches the creative spirit of the site’s current tenants. Dubbed “KoolKiel,” the 65,000-square-meter redevelopment project will include the adaptive reuse of the existing single-story W8 Medienzentrum building as well as the addition of a new zig-zagging plinth, office tower and hotel tower. The buildings will also be equipped with rooftop solar panels, rainwater catchment systems, green roofs and other energy-efficient features. Located near the southernmost tip of the Kiel Fjord, the project site is currently home to W8 Medienzentrum, a large, single-story building that was originally used for storing chains for ships and has been converted into an office space housing mostly companies in media and the creative industries. Inspired by the influence of these tenants on the area’s “unique and charismatic” identity, MVRDV has drawn inspiration from the existing community of companies for the KoolKiel design. The proposal will remake W8 Medienzentrum’s existing structure into a mix of commercial units with apartments above, while the new buildings will offer additional office space, a 250-room hotel, more residences, retail and a public event space. Dynamic exterior spaces — from a public courtyard with street furniture to a rooftop park — will connect the various buildings. Creative community input will be key to the project. For instance, the facade, made from fiber reinforced concrete panels, will display icons inspired by creative local businesses and individuals. The flexible design system also gives the community the choice to change many of the interior and exterior elements of the buildings, from the number of cantilevered units on the hotel tower to the size and layout of apartments stacked above the existing W8 building. Related: MVRDV proposes a glowing “Times Square Taiwan” with interactive media facades “In a location with such a dynamic and creative existing community, it’s obvious that the community should have a say in this development,” said Jacob van Rijs, principal and cofounder of MVRDV. “KoolKiel is not only inspired by them, but it also allows them to tailor the proposal to their wishes — we’re presenting them with not just a design, but also a question: ‘how “Kool” do you want it?’” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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This modern home built to house a renowned art collection is a work of art in itself

January 29, 2019 by  
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Make no mistake — lovers of art reside here. Designed and built by Hufft, The Artery Residence is gorgeous, eco-friendly and just as art-focused on the inside as it is on the outside. The owners, prominent contemporary art collectors, wanted a blend of home and gallery that allows them to live comfortably while displaying their impressive art collection in a modern way. The designer clearly made the space as a unique backdrop for the art installation in mind, with blank, clean walls enabling the owners to rotate and move the art as they please. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the master bathroom allow for views of nature near the tub, warm wood accents, mosaic tiles and quartz counters. The home gets its name not only from the art-centric design , but from the three main “arteries” that connect the structure to the gallery. In this way, each part of the home is connected to the art. There are two guest suites, one that sits poolside, and another that extends dramatically over a limestone wall. Made of cedar, aluminum and limestone, both the exterior and interior invoke sleek, clean lines. In the kitchen, a custom-made modern chandelier with custom island and wooden bar top, with a more formal dining room are visible in a separate area. The Artery Residence is an excellent example of sustainable architecture. The stone floors act as an eco-friendly light absorber, along with big open windows that let that natural light in. Throughout the house are installed large overhangs that hang over the outer structure offering protection from the sun. In efforts to lessen the environmental footprint of the house, the architect incorporated geothermal, active solar and LED lighting into the design. The landscape, designed by 40North, was installed with sustainable garden growth in mind with natural vegetation and permeable surfaces. Related: Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views Throughout 10,650 square feet of living space, thoughtful spaces cut into the floors and screened wooden stairs ensures the central visibility of the owner’s art collection. Also part of the home are matching office spaces and three separate bedrooms with their own en suites. The art doesn’t stop when you reach the outside, either. Striking sculptural pieces are respectfully spread throughout the grounds outside the home, along the terraces and near the pool deck. One of the large entrances that opens to the gallery allows for the loading of large art pieces and for visitors to enter without disturbing the occupants of the home . + Hufft Via Dwell Photography by Michael Robinson via Hufft

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This modern home built to house a renowned art collection is a work of art in itself

Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa

January 29, 2019 by  
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One of the worlds top three food corporations, Cargill, announced a plan to reduce deforestation caused by their cocoa farmers. The plan, Protect our Planet , promises 100 percent traceability of cocoa beans in Cote d’Ivoire by 2020 and zero clearing of forested land for plantations in both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The plan also covers Brazil, Indonesia and Cameroon and includes a wide scale mapping project that identifies the exact size and location of every small farm. Cargill has already mapped 90,000 farms and conducted risk assessments for over 2.3 million hectares. The mapping aims to improve traceability, transparency and accountability. Through GPS technology , Cargill can track farmers’ tree cover, cultivation methods, fertilizers, boundaries and can therefore refuse beans from farmers who spread into forested or protected lands. An improved barcode and electronic payment system, combined with finance training for farmers, means that beans can be traced back to farmers and ensures they are compensated right away. Deforestation is largely due to increasing demand for chocolate combined with poverty, which forces farmers to exploit their land for increase production, such as using harmful chemical fertilizers. When old trees become less productive and land is degraded, farmers often seek new land and may clear forested areas. Related: Deforestation could wipe out over 50 percent of species in Haiti “Global production relies almost entirely on five to six million smallholders,” a study on cocoa-related deforestation reports. “While the deforestation occurs at the smallholder level, it is the companies, governments, and NGOs that need to take action due to the limited technical and economic capacity of smallholders to enact the necessary reforms on their own.” Many small farmers lack government-recognized land rights, which could impact their access once all farms are officially monitored and mapped. Despite investments in building community awareness about climate-smart agriculture , when farmers exhaust cocoa production on their land, will this plan limit their individual growth and livelihoods while Cargill still has the option to move on to farmers with more productive land? When Cargill’s emissions are calculated in combination with the other four largest food corporations, their carbon footprint is larger than BP, Exxon Mobile or Shell. Though serious action on deforestation by major corporations is overdue and paramount to making an impact of scale, it remains to be seen how much this sustainability plan will impact small farmers, while Cargill’s unrivaled power and polluting capacity remain unchecked. Via AllAfrica Image via Shutterstock

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Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa

New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting

January 14, 2019 by  
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While most libraries tend to be filled with nothing more than books, the new VAC library (an abbreviation of the Vietnamese words for Garden, Pond and Cage) in Hanoi is teeming with koi fish and greenery. Vietnamese firm Farming Architects has built the the new open-air library with an impressive aquaponic system to teach the kids about urban farming. Located in a Hanoi neighborhood, the VAC Library is an immense structure comprised of wooden frames with various cubicles filled with books. However, within the almost 600 square feet library is an integrated production system that was designed to teach kids about sustainable food production. Related: URBANANA is Vertical Banana Plantation That Would Bring Tropical Fruit Farming to Paris According to the architects, the library is designed to show children how energy from land, air, water and solar energy can be harvested in order to be completely self-sufficient even within an urban context, “The aim is not only to produce an effective use of natural resources but also favorite experimentation in using different types of plants and animals in the urban environment.” At the heart of its design, the VAC library relies on aquaponic systems to provide a sustainable model. The structure’s fish pond provide nutrients to the plants, which in return purify the water. Built with energy conservation in mind, the system runs on a few pumps powered by solar energy, which also provides the electricity for the lighting system as well. In addition to its impressive sustainable systems , the VAC library is a center of learning. Besides reading the many books on offer, local children enjoy learning about the way that the fish in the ponds are so vital to the vegetable planters and so on. There are also chickens on site whose eggs are used for meals and their waste used as fertilizer for the center’s gardens. + Farming Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Thai Thach and Viet Dung An via Farming Architects  

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New library in Hanoi aims to show young children the benefits of aquaponics in an urban setting

A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps

January 14, 2019 by  
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Designed by Italian architects Roberto Dini and Stefano Girodo , the Luca Pasqualetti Bivouac is a prefab mountain shelter that was airlifted to the very peak of the incredibly remote Morion ridge in Valpelline at an altitude of 3290 meters. The tiny bivouac  was built with sustainable and recyclable materials and designed to cause minimal impact to the stunning landscape. The tiny shelter was the brainchild of a group of local alpine guides called Espri Sarvadzo (“Wild Spirit”). Their objective was to attract more adventurous hikers and climbers to the Morion ridge of Valpelline, which, due to its remote location, is often overlooked. The team worked with the parents of Luca Pasqualettie to dedicate the bivouac to their son who passed away in the same area. Related: Tiny alpine hut is a cozy refuge in the harsh yet spectacular Slovenian Alps The rough location and extreme climate (temperatures reach -20°C and winds up to 200 km/h) in the area meant that the shelter had to be incredibly durable and resilient to wind and snow loads. The rugged terrain made building on the site impossible, so complicating the issue further was the fact that the structure had to be lightweight enough to be transported by helicopter to its destination. To bring the project to fruition, the architects designed and built a prefab structure. All of the building’s components, which were chosen for their durability and low-maintenance properties, are also recyclable and ecologically certified. As for the design itself, the shelter is a simple hut with a large pitched roof made out of two composite sandwich panels, wood and steel and can be split into four parts for easy transport. In addition to being sustainable, the design also called for a building that would cause minimal impact on the landscape. As such, the shelter was installed on non-permanent foundations that were anchored into the rock. This will enable the building to be dismounted at the end of its lifecycle without leaving a permanent trace. The interior of the tiny shelter is a minimalist space, optimized to live comfortably in a compact area. A large panoramic window on the main facade was oriented to face the east to take advantage of natural light and heat as well as to provide stunning views. A small solar panel provides additional lighting. As for furnishings, the interior houses a dining table and eight stools, as well as chests for additional seating and storage. There is also a sideboard that folds down for food preparation and various compartments for equipment. At the rear of the shelter ‘s living space is the sleeping area, which is made up of two wooden platforms with mattresses and blankets. + Roberto Dini + Stefano Girodo Via Archdaily Photography by Roberto Dini, Stefano Girodo, Adele Muscolino and Grzegorz Grodzicki via Bivacco Morion

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A bivouac is lightly perched on a rocky peak of the Italian Alps

Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

January 11, 2019 by  
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Located adjacent to designated wetlands, the Tung House by Seoul-based firm Project Architecture  is a net-zero home that combines conscientious landscape design with energy efficiency. Along with a large photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels to provide power and heating, the home uses a number of passive features to achieve its  net-zero energy use . At 2,900 square feet, the Tung House is a fairly large structure but relatively small in comparison with other homes in the area. One of the reasons that the size was restrained is its location. The home is built in Lincoln, Massachusetts on a strictly preserved site adjacent to designated wetlands. The size limitations imposed by the local government presented a challenge to the architects, who met the restrictions head-on with a gorgeous angular design that aesthetically gives the home a unique character while simultaneously achieving net-zero energy use . Related: This net-zero home is inspired by Iceland’s volcanic landscapes At the heart of the design are the geometric features. The roof, which is comprised of various planes, was used to give the home ample space for the photovoltaic array and solar water heater panels . The rooftop solar panels provide sufficient power and heating to the house, and in the summer months, any additional energy is transferred back to the city’s local grid. In addition to making room for solar panels, the multiple roof planes provide several overhangs that shade the interior living space during the warmer months and help provide natural light and heat during the wintertime. Inside, the architects wanted to create an open layout that offered a seamless connection between the living space and the outdoors. From the front door to the upper level, multiple large windows offer views of the serene backyard. Naturally lit by sunlight , a loft-like living room and open kitchen are on the ground floor, which is connected to the upper floors through a mezzanine level. The interior design scheme of all-white provides a contemporary elegance throughout the home, enhanced by the various angular ceilings. + Project Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Project Architecture

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Net-zero home is designed to blend in with its natural, protected landscape

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