Studio NAB wants to boost urban biodiversity with an insect hotel at a bus stop

June 14, 2019 by  
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Waiting for the bus is usually a drag, but what if the experience could instead become an opportunity to be closer to nature? French design practice Studio NAB has reinterpreted the humble bus stop as a hub for biodiversity that offers a “hotel” for birds and insects of all varieties. Built from recycled materials and topped with a vegetated green roof, the proposed Hotel Bus Stop aims to promote the population of native pollinating insects and reconnect people to nature. Studio NAB designed the Hotel Bus Stop to serve five purposes: to promote the presence of pollinating insects; to bring adults and children closer to nature and promote environmental awareness and education; to showcase architecture constructed from recycled materials such as wood, cardboard and stainless steel; to introduce urban greenery and improve air quality with a vegetated roof and exposed plant wall; and to create “green jobs” for maintenance around the bus stops. Related: 6 fun, fantastic bus stops from around the world “A broad scientific consensus now recognizes the role of man in the decline of biomass and biodiversity in general and that of insects in particular,” Studio NAB explained in a project statement. “The use of pesticides in intensive agriculture, the destruction of natural habitats, excessive urbanization, global warming and various pollutions are at the origin of this hecatomb. Our hegemony allied to our conscience obliges us today to fulfill a role of ‘guardian’ and to allow the ‘living’ to take its place in order to fight against the erosion of our biodiversity.” Envisioned for city centers and “eco-neighborhoods,” The Hotel Bus Stop would provide more habitats for pollinating insects that are essential for our food system and gardens, from fruit trees and vegetables to ornamental flowers. Auxiliary insects would also benefit, such as lacewings and earwigs that feed on aphids, a common garden pest. The underside of the bus stop roof would include boxes to encourage nesting by various bird species found throughout the city. + Studio NAB Images via Studio NAB

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Studio NAB wants to boost urban biodiversity with an insect hotel at a bus stop

Green-roofed infill rental fills a gap in Vancouvers housing crisis

May 28, 2019 by  
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In light of Vancouver’s housing crisis , local architectural firm Haeccity Studio Architecture has transformed a 1950s bungalow in the city’s West End neighborhood into Comox Infill, a contemporary multi-family development with six dedicated rental units. Described by the firm as the “missing” piece from Vancouver’s urban fabric, this small-scale multi-family project is a case study for much-needed densification that doesn’t compromise on livability. Sandwiched between two heritage properties, the modern infill project thoughtfully references its traditional neighbors while considering key issues including walkability, car sharing, accessibility and aging in place. Located on a standard 33-foot-by-122-foot single-family lot in downtown Vancouver, Comox Infill is a three-story walk-up that includes six dedicated rental units for tenancy, a green roof  and a shared courtyard with a preserved, mature Cypress tree. The decidedly contemporary development relates to its urban context through its sloped roof, separate exterior dwelling entrances and human-scaled circulation. “Not quite a single-family home, and yet not a soaring condo tower, the missing middle typology offers something in between,” explained the firm. “In rethinking the possibilities for urban dwelling, it’s a solution that calls for incremental densification without drastically disrupting the character and community of existing neighborhoods. Comox Street embodies the desirable qualities of a missing middle typology, including walkable urban living, accessibility to a middle-income household and housing diversity, which are all essential to the continued fostering of a city’s social and cultural vibrancy.” Related: This space-saving tiny home offers sustainable housing atop garages in Sydney The Comox Infill consists of six rental suites of varying sizes. The ground level comprises a one-bedroom suite facing Comox Street, courtyard access, service rooms, bicycle storage and a two-bedroom suite in the rear that opens up to the lane. Above are a one-bedroom suite, a double-story two-bedroom suite and a double-story three-bedroom suite; all units overlook a long green roof. The third level includes an additional one-bedroom suite while the double-story units enjoy access to a shared rooftop courtyard . + Haeccity Studio Architecture Images via Haeccity Studio Architecture

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Green-roofed infill rental fills a gap in Vancouvers housing crisis

Architects transform a residential building into a lush, green oasis in the heart of So Paulo

May 20, 2019 by  
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Although São Paulo is known as a bustling metropolis, a local architectural firm, Lucia Manzano Arquitetura , is doing its part to add more green to the concrete and glass cityscape. The Lorena is a residential building in the heart of the city that is designed to integrate architecture and landscape. It infuses an abundance of vegetation throughout from its ground floor garden, which was planted with native shrubs and trees to attract local fauna, to the massive balconies covered in hanging greenery, and of course, a lush green roof. Sitting in the middle of São Paulo, the 28,000-square-foot Lorena building holds court in a quiet area, standing out significantly from its concrete neighbors thanks to the massive amount of vegetation that hangs from each of its outdoor terraces and rooftop gardens . According to the architects, the inspiration for the design was to create a strong relationship between landscape and architecture. To do so, the building was covered in layers of vibrant plants. Related: Translucent Ho Chi Minh City office tower infused with greenery helps combat urban pollution The concrete building is four stories, comprised of several 5,543-square-foot duplex units. The common areas, the ground floor and the rooftop were conceived as private gardens for the residents. On the ground floor, the landscaping includes  native vegetation , such as local species from the Atlantic Forest as well as fruit and native trees, chosen to attract local birds and insects. This space also has an extended splash pool to create a soothing oasis where the residents can relax. At the top of the building, residents can also enjoy a beautiful green roof . Equipped with large trees, shrubs and flowers, there are also plenty of lounge chairs to take in the stunning views of the city. When they are not strolling along the pool or taking in the rooftop vistas, residents have their own private escape at home. Each duplex has four bedrooms, each with its own private balcony that pulls double-duty as flowerbeds. The living space in each unit opens up to a balcony, merging the interior with the exterior. As well as creating the sense of being surrounded by a garden , the abundance of plant life also provides the residences with plenty of privacy. + Lucia Manzano Arquitetura  Via Archdaily Photography by Evelyn Müller via Lucia Manzano Arquitetura

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Green roofs to take over NYC skyline by law

April 26, 2019 by  
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Moments before Earth Day, New York City passed a major Climate Mobilization Act with new regulations for reducing emissions and becoming a more resilient city — including requiring all new buildings to have green roofs . New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act has been likened to the Green New Deal for its progressive and holistic approach to reducing emissions and sparking a sustainable economy. Green buildings are a critical component to the act, because buildings are the city’s biggest contributor of carbon emissions. Related: New York City passes landmark bill to cut carbon emissions of big buildings by 80% According to the act, all new buildings will be required to incorporate vegetation, solar panels and/or small wind turbines into the roof design. This mandate also includes existing buildings that are undergoing major renovations. High-profile buildings have already set precedence in New York City for progressive green roof designs, including the Barclays Center, Javits Center and Brooklyn Steel. Critics of the act fear that the policies unfairly force landlords to pay for costly construction and retrofitting. The act includes loopholes for small buildings and places of worship as well as phasing options that spread out costs. There are also exemptions for buildings that include rent-stabilized apartments . This exception attempts to prevent evictions and rent spikes following major renovations — a familiar pattern in rapidly gentrifying areas. By 2030, according to the city’s estimates, the reduction in carbon emissions created by the mandated green roofs will be equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. The Climate Mobilization Act is also predicted to create thousands of jobs, including an estimated 3,600 construction jobs and 4,400 maintenance jobs. Council member Costa Constantinides said in a statement, “The Climate Mobilization Act is a down payment on the future of New York City — one that ensures we lead the way in the ever-growing fight against climate change .” Via Dwell Image via Javits Center

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

April 18, 2019 by  
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In the Eisack Valley of Italy, an old “pair farmstead” structure partly built into the hillside years ago still remains. The new owner decided to turn this classic property into a proper home after living inside it for two years as it was, and chose Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten for the redesign. The partially underground extension is topped by a grassy green roof that serves as an homage to the old design as well as a minimal approach to interacting with the natural environment. A newer building was constructed to connect to the older structure, causing the entire house to extend from east to west, hidden within the mountain. Both buildings are linked using a natural stone staircase, and two long skylights serve as limited visible proof of the underground home. From the southern vantage point, a side of concrete and glass serves as a window, making the outer valley visible from inside. Related: Green-roofed home cantilevers over a remote mountainside in Argentina As would be expected in an underground dwelling, the interior decoration is made up of natural colors. Wooden planks line the walls, and the ceiling is primarily made from the same exposed concrete visible from the green roof . Furnishings also consist of shades of brown, and the home includes a clean-lined, minimalist kitchen. There are views of the Eisack Valley and Dolomites Mountains from both the living and sleeping rooms. Although the home is mostly underground, the architects managed to include high ceilings and open spaces within the home, adding a modern element. Occupants enjoy natural light throughout the house thanks to the large skylights . The architects hoped that this home would forge a connection between the old and new, adding a modern twist to the house while maintaining respect for the original historical property. Using eco-conscious materials  — such as natural stone, exposed concrete, steel and wood — that complement the surrounding mountainous region, the architects created an extraordinary home that has only increased in historic value. + Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten Via ArchDaily Photography by Oskar DaRiz via Pavol Mikolajcak Architekten

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The Felderhof House in Italy is built into the ground and topped with a green roof

Green roofs can improve air quality inside buildings

April 15, 2019 by  
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A new study has found that green roofs do a lot more than just provide extra space to grow plants. These eco-friendly roofs can also enhance air quality inside of buildings by reducing the ozone levels that come in from the outdoors. Scientists at Portland State University conducted the study at a large commercial building in Portland. Researchers installed devices on the roof, which was split between a traditional membrane and a green roof. The devices measured ozone levels of the air surrounding the building. They discovered that plants on the roof helped to trap ozone, preventing it from coming into the building. Related: 9 ways to add more houseplants to your home The new study adds to the growing list of green roof benefits. According to Phys.org , this includes the ability to filter carbon dioxide, cut down on excess water runoff after big storms and reduce heat in urban environments. Not to mention all of the veggies and plants that can be grown, cultivated and even shared with the local community. But how does the vegetation trap ozone and remove it from the air? The process of trapping ozone is called dry deposition, where particles in the air accumulate on solid surfaces. The process of dry deposition is completely natural and has been proven to be an effective way of filtering air. Prior to the new research, however, scientists did not know that a green roof could actually improve air quality indoors. It should be noted that the study, which was published last month in Building and Environment, only took place over a few days. The scientists who led the research effort have admitted that more studies that measure pollutants trapped over a long period should be completed. They also want to look at other pollutants other than just ozone. Once this happens, we will better understand the broader benefits of green roofs and just how much they can contribute to better indoor air quality. + Portland State University Via Phys.org Image via Urformat

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Rammed concrete home in Portugal boasts passive design features and a green roof

March 26, 2019 by  
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Portuguese firm  Atelier 1111 has unveiled a gorgeous home designed to strategically blend into the rural region of Grândola in southern Portugal. The Cottage House is an angular design embedded into a small hillside, putting part of the home underneath the arid landscape. This technique provides the house with a strong thermal envelope, which — along with additional passive cooling strategies such as a green roof and thickened stone walls — boosts energy efficiency. Using the idyllic setting as inspiration for the design, the exterior of the home is clad in a rammed concrete, which gives the exterior a textured, neutral color that blends in with the arid soil. According to the architects, the rammed concrete was part of the structure’s many passive features, which also include a green roof and thick, insulative walls. Related: This breezy, green-roofed home in Singapore embraces nature from all angles “Thermal comfort was one of our biggest concerns, especially in the summer, because it is a region with high temperatures,” the architects explained. “We avoid mechanical systems, because we have a green roof and considerable thick walls.” Although angular in form, the contemporary home manages to subtly and respectfully blend in with its surroundings. Using the rolling topography to their advantage, the architects created a main open-air corridor that weaves through the structure, leading to the interior living space as well as various cutouts that frame the incredible views. Throughout the interior, the home’s walls and ceilings are also made out of concrete , but in a polished version. Locally-sourced marble was used for the flooring, and the design is enhanced with brass features on the interior doors. The Cottage House is actually part of a bigger plan that is set to be built on the same site, including a garage and a swimming pool. The design of the home, as well as the remaining buildings, was almost entirely inspired by the surrounding landscape, which is characterized by protected stone pine, olive and  cork  trees. The sloped land at its highest point provides a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean. + Atelier 1111 Photography by Nuno Pinto via Atelier 1111

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A beautiful brick home is embedded into the Brazilian countryside

March 25, 2019 by  
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Brazilian firm  Estúdio Penha has tucked a brick-clad home into the sloped landscapes of an expansive forest outside of São Paulo. Partially embedded into a grassy hill, the gorgeous Quinta da Baroneza House blends quietly into its natural setting thanks to an expansive green roof and muted brick cladding that matches the same color of the local soil. Located in an open patch of the Atlantic Forest, the nearly 7,000-square-foot home was designed to blend in with its surroundings while providing a relaxing retreat for the homeowners. According to the architects, they created the exterior cladding by using mainly broken bricks and brick residues in order to symbolically create “a direct connection to the large and small pieces that compose life.” Related: Victorian home’s painted facade is stripped to restore its original red brick glory The brick home is comprised of three main volumes that are separated by a smooth, concrete, L-shaped wall. This large wall crosses through the main volumes, creating a corridor that traverses the length of the building to an inner courtyard that connects the interior with the exterior. Further enhancing this connection to the natural surroundings is a large metal staircase that leads up to an expansive green roof  planted with native vegetation. Although underground, the living space in the first volume is illuminated with natural light thanks to a strategically placed skylight. Much of the interior features walls with rough cast plaster finish, concrete touches and exposed plumbing and electrical wiring, all of which give the living space a cool, industrial aesthetic. Flooring found throughout the home was made out of reforested wood. The largest area in the home is the main living room with a front facade comprised of massive sliding glass doors, which open out to the Hijau stone pool surrounded by a wooden deck. The pool was created with tiles in differing shades of green to create the sensation of being in a lake. Definitely the heart of the home, this area blends in nicely with the terrain with a rustic vine veranda that provides shade from the harsh summer sun. + Estúdio Penha Via ArchDaily Images via Estúdio Penha

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Designers recycle aluminum production waste into functional ceramic decor

March 25, 2019 by  
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The red clay ceramics produced by the design team at Royal College of Art and Imperial College London may look like the creation of any standard potter. However, these are not your everyday bowls and teapots. In fact, they are the result of a process that uses a by-product from aluminum production that transforms the so-called red mud into a raw material suitable for making kitchen wares. Bauxite residue is a by-product from the refining of alumina, which is a precursor to the process we know as aluminum production. It is not an insignificant by-product either. In fact the process creates bauxite residue at twice the rate of the amount of aluminum produced from it. Around the world, the watery red material is left behind in huge pools of abandoned waste so the team of scientists and designers decided to find a way to make use of it. Designers Guillermo Whittembury, Joris Olde-Rikkert, Kevin Rouff, and Luis Paco Bockelmann were excited to dive into the potential of the otherwise neglected by-product, hoping they could find practical applications for it. To discover the potential of the discarded substance, the team paired up with material experts from Imperial College London and KU Leuven, scored some red mud from one of the oldest alumina production facility on the planet, and headed into R&D. Through hundreds of tests and experiments they discovered a versatile ceramic as well as an alternative concrete. The R.E.D. (residue enabled design) project, also known as From Wasteland to Living Room, resulted in a vast array of cups, saucers, teapots, bowls, vases and a myriad of other design pieces. Related: This British café is serving to-go coffee in ceramic mugs to combat waste They also found that the fired color in the finished product produced a range of colors from a standard terracotta to a deep burgundy. To bring out more variety, the team used metal oxides from the residue to make glazes in a range of colors too. “The designers aim to make people at once aware of the impact of materials taken for granted, like aluminium, and to hint to the potential of their byproducts. “We want people to see that Red Mud isn’t a ‘waste’, that industry is keen to find uses for it, and that using it is possible,” states Kevin. This project is a small step towards what they believe as a more sustainable future in which “wastes” will be considered as valuable assets, and they hope it stimulates more uses of the material. + R.E.D. Via Dezeen Images via R.E.D.

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Mount Everest’s melting glaciers expose the bodies of long-lost climbers

March 25, 2019 by  
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Close to 300 climbers and explorers have died trying to summit Mount Everest, and the bodies of those that remain on the mountain are starting to become exposed because of  melting glaciers . Around two-thirds of the people who have passed on the mountain are believed to be encased in the ice and snow. Authorities are starting to remove the exposed bodies on the Chinese side of the mountain range, and efforts are picking up as spring arrives. To date, more than 4,800 mountaineers have summited Mount Everest , and more are expected to attempt the feat this year. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of Himalayan ice cap by 2100 “Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting, and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, who used to be the president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, explained. It is unclear how many deceased individuals have been removed from the mountain so far, but government officials said that the number of exposed bodies has steadily increased over the years. According to the BBC , one of the challenges with removing these bodies is that government officials are required to be involved in the process. This has made it difficult to remove some bodies from higher elevations. Recent studies have shown that Mount Everest’s glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, leading to flooding in local lakes and rivers. Scientists attribute the melting glaciers to global warming , and the issue is affecting the entire mountain range. Seeing a few bodies emerge every now and then is completely normal on the mountain, and most climbers are prepared for the situation. A few bodies are even used as landmarks. Still, it costs anywhere between 40 and 80 thousand dollars to remove a body, especially at higher elevations. Officials also have to consider personal issues when they uncover a body as well as how to get in contact with family members of the deceased. While melting glaciers are the main cause of the exposed bodies, movement in the glaciers is also a factor in the number of bodies that become uncovered each climbing season. Via BBC Image via Guillaume Baviere

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