University of Toronto Scarborough learning hub to welcome nature indoors

September 17, 2020 by  
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Canadian firm ZAS Architects and Denmark-based CEBRA Architecture have unveiled the design for the Instructional Centre Phase 2 (IC-2), a new companion building at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Deigned as a “dynamic learning landscape,” the building eschews the traditional boxy arrangement of rooms for a more fluid layout that prioritizes flexibility and stacks learning spaces on top of each other. In addition to a large green roof that will top the fourth floor, the new five-story building will also feature sloped garden beds and an indoor landscaped courtyard. Proposed for a site currently used as a surface parking lot, the new institutional building will offer a variety of technology-enabled spaces, including 21 classrooms of varying sizes and configurations, from a 500-seat auditorium to smaller, 24-seat learning spaces. The project will also contain 124 faculty and staff offices, study spaces, lab rooms, meeting areas and multiple co-working spaces designed to encourage peer collaboration. The ground floor will be used as a social hub with a cafe and informal gathering spaces complete with soaring ceiling heights and an open floor plan. Related: UK University unveils efficient, BREEAM-certified learning center “We envisioned a truly flexible environment that broke down traditional pedagogies and instead, encouraged a fluid learning experience unconfined by the walls of the classroom,” said Paul Stevens, founder and senior principal at ZAS Architects. “Peer-to-peer learning is emulated in all aspects of the design.” Fitted with a mix of translucent and fritted glazing, the contemporary building will be awash in natural light to promote student health and wellness while reducing the facility’s energy footprint. To further provide both mental and physical support to students, the design dedicates a state-of-the-art central floor to student health that will include counseling and mental health resources, a meditation room, a breastfeeding room, a physician and nurse office and academic advising and accessibility services. + ZAS Architects Images via ZAS Architects

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University of Toronto Scarborough learning hub to welcome nature indoors

A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

September 11, 2020 by  
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Located in Shenzhen, China, the If Factory utilizes a sustainable design that transforms an old and disused factory into a creative mix of office spaces. While the heart of the building contains a public stairway with an inclusive view of the inside, the landscaped bamboo roof terrace is an even more impressive token of the project’s combination of sustainability and community. Rather than demolish the original factory before rebuilding the office space, a project that would require extensive resources and environmental strain, the architects at MVRDV set out to renovate instead. The result is a celebration of old and new, with a simple focus on cleaning out the original building while reinventing the older components of the structure. Related: An old Brooklyn sugar refinery becomes creative office spaces For example, the architects chose to use new, transparent painting techniques to prevent the older spaces from further aging. This results in the important preservation of the original building’s history and exposed concrete frame while maintaining more modern principles of sustainability and the circular economy. New walls and balconies are made of glass. In an effort to promote exchanges between colleagues, the exterior walls are set back from the building’s frame to allow for circulation. The grand staircase is made of wood to separate the design from the surrounding concrete and glass, and it weaves its way artistically between each floor. MVRDV included windows built into the staircase so that workers can peek into other offices as a commitment to transparency and collaboration. The public roof terrace, known as “The Green House,” includes a green bamboo landscape that is arranged to form a natural maze. This unique design intentionally divides the rooftop into different sections that all contain different programming, including a dance room, a dining area and space for reading, aimed at relaxation and community. + MVRDV Via ArchDaily Images via MVRDV

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A disused factory becomes an office with a landscaped bamboo roof terrace

Green-roofed California winery will blend into a beautiful valley landscape

August 17, 2020 by  
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Along the slopes of the Santa Rosa Hills in California’s Santa Barbara County, Texas-based architecture firm Clayton & Little has unveiled designs to skillfully embed the Alma Rosa Winery into the valley floor. Designed to preserve the natural beauty of the El Jabali Ranch, the Alma Rosa Winery, along with its tasting room and vineyard equipment barn, will be mostly tucked into the hillsides or underground and layered with a green roof of native grasses to blend in with the landscape. Sustainability drove the design of the winery. Alma Rosa Winery uses eco-friendly farming practices on its vineyards and features an array of energy-saving techniques as part of a plan to take the winery and vineyard barn off the grid. Dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, the Alma Rosa Winery has become a destination for visitors interested in tasting the vibrant wines and immersing themselves in the beautiful ranch. As a result, the architects plan to let the landscape take center stage by blanketing the nearly 25,000-square-foot complex in a vegetated roof. Ventilated subterranean caves that house the barrel storage spaces take advantage of the natural soil temperature to minimize mechanical cooling. The solar-powered winery also features integrated night cooling to further reduce energy demands. Related: A historic farm is thoughtfully repurposed into an organic winery A steel frame, native stone walls, cast-in-place concrete, reclaimed redwood and weathering steel will make up the simple materials palette, which was selected for regional availability and resiliency. “The intention was to design a space to reflect how a farmer would have built the necessities to run their operations — with both simplicity and flexibility in mind,” the architects explained. The native stone walls that define the buildings above-ground are also brought into the interiors of the Fermentation Hall, a large, two-level space with 64-ton capacity fermentation tanks, administration offices, flex offices, a meeting room and a break room. All spaces are open to natural light and views of the hillside and vineyard. The project also includes a new 3,569-square-foot Vineyard Equipment Barn, an open-air space built with reclaimed materials that houses heavy farming equipment, tools, picking bins and a closed workspace. + Clayton & Little Images via Clayton & Little

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Green-roofed California winery will blend into a beautiful valley landscape

Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

July 6, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based architecture firm AEMSEN has recently unveiled BARBIZON, a design proposal for sustainable apartments built from prefabricated, cross-laminated timber modules. Created with the vision that cities need healthy buildings, BARBIZON’s timber construction would be integrated with shared green spaces to encourage neighborly relations and to offset the urban heat island effect. The concept was originally developed for Barbizonlaan in Capelle aan den IJssel; however, the flexible design could be applied in other parts of the world as well. Energy efficiency, reduced building waste and sequestered carbon are among the many advantages of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber construction. AEMSEN’s BARBIZON proposal would comprise stackable and interchangeable CLT modules that combine to create 112 gas-free and bio-based apartments. The design includes 16 different housing types that vary in size from 45 square meters to 120 square meters to accommodate a variety of residents. Related: Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction “By modular design and building with prefabricated CLT modules, the balance between city and nature can be brought back,” Jasper Jägers of AEMSEN said in a press release, noting the fireproof and lightweight qualities of CLT. “Energy-neutral, modular and circular construction with wood really is the future. It is lighter than traditional construction, it has good insulating properties and it provides much less nitrogen emissions. It makes sustainability and circularity accessible to everyone.” To promote sustainable living practices, BARBIZON developments would be integrated with green roofs and urban farming initiatives along the roofs and terraces. The shared green spaces — known as a “green valley” — would be accessible to all residents to help build a sense of community while providing habitat for local flora and fauna to boost biodiversity, thus bringing back a “balance between city and nature.” Photovoltaic systems could also be installed on top of the building to generate renewable energy. + AEMSEN Images via AEMSEN

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Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

Energy-neutral school in Utrecht enhances biodiversity

July 2, 2020 by  
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At the Winkerlaan in Utrecht, Dutch architecture firm EVA architecten has completed SO Fier, an energy-neutral primary school for Special Education Cluster 2 students that emphasizes sustainability, flexibility and connections with nature. The school , which belongs to SPO Utrecht, is split into two volumes — academia and a gym — that read as a single mass thanks to the continuous brick masonry that wraps around the facade as well as the rounded corners that soften the building’s appearance. Large windows fill the interiors with natural light and frame views of greenery and outdoor spaces on all sides. At nearly 3,000 square meters, SO Fier comprises 15 group rooms, a technical room, two gyms, offices for ambulatory care and additional supporting space. Designed to provide specialized care to the students, each group room includes a bathroom and a workplace that serves as a shelter zone. All group rooms face a central courtyard , which funnels natural light into the rooms and “literally forms a resting point in the building,” the architects explained. “Here you can isolate yourself from the rest as a pupil or teacher.” Related: Dutch villa taps into solar energy and optimal site conditions In addition to the central courtyard, SO Fier enhances biodiversity with a green roof located on the low roof between the two building volumes as well as with the integration of nest boxes — for local swifts, bats and house sparrows — into the facade. Flexibility has also been built into the school’s design; for instance, the group rooms can be rearranged to accommodate regular classes. The project has achieved Fresh Schools Class B, a Dutch rating tool for determining indoor air quality . “In consultation with the users and in collaboration with interior architect NEST and landscape architects Beuk, the complete interior and exterior spaces were also designed,” the architects added. “A coordinated color and material palette ensures peace and consistency in the busy life of the school. The same applies to the squares: These are programmatically connected to the spaces on the facade, each age group has its own square that is as green as possible.” + EVA architecten Photography by Sebastian van Damme via EVA architecten

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Energy-neutral school in Utrecht enhances biodiversity

This sustainable Jackson Hole residence has a LED-lit indoor slide

July 2, 2020 by  
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The Jackson Tech House not only has spectacular views of the Teton Range from its location high on a double sloped site, but it also has a number of unique and sustainable features. The style of the exterior incorporates a modern-yet-rustic look with natural moss rock and unpainted corral board wood siding, while the inside contains surprising features such as heated ramps and an indoor slide. The project was designed by Cushing Terrell and Hoyt Architects . The multiple layers of the home that hug the surrounding terrain are connected by heated concrete ramps, and the main level connects to a recreation room with an indoor slide embedded with color-changing LED lights . Related: Passive House-inspired home ushers in spectacular Grand Tetons views For added sustainability, there are solar panels incorporated into the design as well as a number of green roofs and sustainable furnishing materials, including dark wood, concrete and steel accents. Some of the custom features in the Jackson Tech House include flat-screen panels inlaid into the entryway floor and an adjustable system of chainmail shade curtains that work on a trolly. The inlaid floor screens can be used to display artwork, photos or other images. There is a pair of triple-stacked bunk beds in one bedroom; another bedroom holds two sets of bunk beds near a corner window with views of the rugged terrain outside. The yard that surrounds the front door is landscaped with drought-resistant plants and succulents. Outside, a Pickard steam injection pizza oven is included in the outdoor kitchen and dining space so that the owners can make and enjoy meals while enjoying the beautiful views of the Wyoming mountains. Inside, the kitchen features an extra-long bar island with a gas range and hood, stainless steel appliances and hardwood flooring on a raised platform. In the family room, which opens up into the kitchen, a mechanized fireplace has doors that slide up and out to stay hidden when not in use, and there is a designated slot for firewood. + Cushing Terrell Photography by Gibeon Photography via Cushing Terrell

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This sustainable Jackson Hole residence has a LED-lit indoor slide

The South Pole is warming 3 times faster than anywhere else

July 2, 2020 by  
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The South Pole is getting warmer — in fact, this remote location is experiencing warming up to three times faster than the rest of the planet. Researchers are nearly certain this disturbing trend is due to human activity. Kyle Clem, a research fellow in climate science, explained the trend in an article for The Guardian . “My colleagues and I argue these warming trends are unlikely the result of natural climate variability alone,” he wrote. “The effects of human-made climate change appear to have worked in tandem with the significant influence natural variability in the tropics has on Antarctica’s climate. Together they make the south pole warming one of the strongest warming trends on Earth.” Related: New study sheds light on Antarctic sea ice mystery Because the icy landmass covers 5.4 million square miles, there is a lot of temperature variability.  Scientists have tracked temperatures since 1957 at the planet’s southernmost weather observatory, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station. On the Antarctic plateau deep in the South Pole, the coldest region on Earth, average temperatures can dip to -60 degrees Celsius in winter and rise to -20 degrees Celsius in summer. Clem and his colleagues have focused on temperatures in the past 30 years. They concluded that between 1989 and 2018, the South Pole has warmed by 1.8 degrees Celsius. Since 2000, it’s been warming more rapidly. Scientists already knew that the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica were getting warmer. In fact, Esperanza, Argentina’s research station on the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip, reached a new high of 18.2 degrees Celsius, or 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit, this February. But scientists are especially alarmed to learn of the temperature increase deep in the continent’s remote, mountainous interior. Clem and his colleagues analyzed more than 200 climate model simulations to gauge human influence on climate change. “These climate models show recent increases in greenhouse gases have possibly contributed around 1? of the total 1.8? of warming at the south pole,” he wrote. Stormy weather and low-pressure systems around the Antarctic Peninsula in the Weddell Sea partially account for the increased temperatures. But the combination of weather and greenhouse gases are likely the problem. “The observed warming exceeds 99.9% of all possible trends without human influence — and this means the recent warming is extremely unlikely under natural conditions, albeit not impossible,” Clem wrote. Via The Guardian Image via Jodeng

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The South Pole is warming 3 times faster than anywhere else

Wellesleys Global Flora greenhouse can generate all of its own energy

July 2, 2020 by  
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Boston-based architecture firm Kennedy & Violich Architecture has flipped the script for energy-intensive greenhouses with the net-zero energy Global Flora, a sustainable botanical facility for Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Engineered to exceed the Net Zero Water & Energy requirements of the Living Building Challenge, Global Flora will follow passive solar principles and draw on geothermal energy.  The botanical facility will also be integrated with an open-source Interactive Sensor Platform to allow people to gather and share real-time data about the plants, including their soil, water and air conditions. The Global Flora botanical facility builds on the legacy of Dr. Margaret Ferguson, who, in the 1920s, emphasized plant biology as a central part of science education and encouraged Wellesley College students to “listen to” plants and learn through hands-on interdisciplinary experiences. The new greenhouse will serve as a botany lab and “museum” for the college and will also be available and free to the public. The gathered data from the open-source Interactive Sensor Platform will be accessible to public schools and international research universities as well. Related: Resurrected greenhouse to honor father of modern genetics Located next to the existing visitor center, Global Flora will comprise Dry and Tropical biomes separated by interior ETFE partitions. Unlike most greenhouses, Wellesley College’s botanical facility is almost completely closed off on the north side with a gabion wall filled with local and reclaimed stone to eliminate almost all heat loss through surfaces that don’t receive direct sunlight. Energy recovery units, geothermal-powered radiant heating and cooling and vertical water features help create local microclimates and keep energy use to a minimum. The greenhouse also includes stormwater retention tanks. In addition to the Dry and Tropical biomes that cover a variety of plant habitats from deserts to mangroves, Global Flora includes a seasonal Camellia Pavilion on the northeast side that houses the college’s iconic Durant Camellia tree, which is over 140 years old. + Kennedy & Violich Architecture Images via Kennedy & Violich Architecture

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Wellesleys Global Flora greenhouse can generate all of its own energy

Tropicfeel launches hemp capsule clothing collection

July 2, 2020 by  
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In a move, or movement, away from fast fashion, the sustainability minded travel and lifestyle company Tropicfeel has created an all-natural clothing line that makes packing easy and is equally as easy on the environment. On the heels of its wildly successful 2017 Kickstarter campaign for a lightweight and durable shoe called Monsoon, Tropicfeel moved into the clothing realm, directly aimed at disrupting the wasteful and polluting mainstream clothing industry. The newly unveiled hemp selections provide travel or everyday essentials in a capsule collection that makes mixing and matching a breeze.  Related: Olli Ella releases capsule wardrobe made with organic cotton The nine Stand Up wear-anywhere pieces are made from sustainable, natural fibers including hemp, tree pulp-derived Tencel and organic cotton fibers. These natural materials, along with compostable packaging, create products manufactured as totally vegan , environmentally friendly, lightweight and long-lasting.  The capsule collections include an olive green maxi-length T-shirt dress, feather-light ecru shorts, simple T-shirts and even a statement beach towel. The Stand Up collection keeps color options to a minimum for easy coordinating. Tropicfeel burst into the fashion market three years ago with a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of achieving crowdfunding to help launch its debut shoe design, resulting in the most-funded shoe in Kickstarter history. That’s when the team knew they were on to something, that something being a shared desire to own functional fashion pieces that last longer, are versatile enough to wear on a hike or out to dinner and are made in an environmentally conscious way. The company explained how hemp as the primary material helps achieve these goals. “Hemp requires minimal fertilizer and as little as half the water required for pure cotton, whilst the hardy plants hoover up vast amounts of CO2 from the air, return up to 70% of nutrients back into the soil and protect against soil erosion,” Tropicfeel stated. “Designed with the minimalist traveler in mind, the Tropicfeel collection is also perfect for day-to-day life: hemp is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-odor, breathable and cooling in summer’s heat.” + Tropicfeel Images via Tropicfeel

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Villa in Vietnam prioritizes natural light and green space

July 1, 2020 by  
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Step into K-Villa+, located in C?n Th?, Vietnam. Finished in 2020, this villa maximizes open spaces for natural light and prioritizes environmentally-inclusive design with a  green roof  and tropical-style garden. The villa is located near the Mekong River in the center of H?ng Phú, a newly-established residential area close to public transportation. Designed by Space + Architecture, the roughly 19,375-square-foot villa boasts a low building density, a green roof and a rainwater collection system. K-Villa+ is one of few private residences in the country to be certified by the Vietnam Green Building Council. The garden space incorporates a variety of  trees  native to the local area, including mango, palm, milkfruit, bougainvillea and plumeria. An ecological fish pond on the property features aquatic plants such as lotus, water lily and centella. Related: A rich vegetable garden grows atop a unique home in Vietnam Going with the overall eco-friendly theme, the designers paid specific attention to  natural ventilation  for the project. This area of Vietnam experiences a typical monsoon season with natural circulating air, which the designers worked with, using wide-open spaces, breeze block walls and a specific door layout to maximize airflow. Controlled air flows into the building to help keep the interior cool, and the green roof helps reduce thermal radiation. Additionally, the tropical weather in the region presents excellent opportunities for  natural light . Large windows and openings work harmoniously for regulated airflow and light, along with an indoor garden and skylight. An artfully-designed spiral staircase exposes the interior to even more light, while the property fence is made of a combination of cut out steel and glass. At nighttime, occupants can switch to an automatic lighting system and energy-efficient LED lights. The villa employs a  rain reuse system  to help irrigate its many plants, with plans to turn the system into a drinking water source. The gardens are landscaped with grasscrete brick to reduce concrete surfaces, increase natural plant composition and help to drain rainwater. Eco-friendly materials such as un-baked brick and certified-sustainable wood were painted with non-VOC paint to avoid harmful emissions. + Space + Architecture Via Archdaily Images via Space + Architecture

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Villa in Vietnam prioritizes natural light and green space

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