Green-roofed yna hotel blends into a spectacular Nordic landscape

December 23, 2020 by  
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Earlier this year, Norwegian architects Green Advisers AS completed the Øyna hotel — Norway’s “first cultural landscape hotel” with stunning views of the Trondheim fjord. To give deference to the breathtaking landscape, the architects inserted the hotel’s 18 rooms partly into an existing slope and then covered them with green roofs for a seamless connection with the verdant surroundings. The hotel suites follow a radial layout to allow for panoramic views from every room. Located in Øynaparken near Straumen in central Norway , the Øyna cultural landscape hotel is set above the old Sakshaug Church on a natural hill that affords panoramic views over the Trondheim Fjord, the Fosen Alps and “The Golden Road.” Owned and operated by the Sakshaug family, the Øynaparken facility originally served as a restaurant and events venue; however, increasing demand for overnight accommodation prompted expansion into a hotel. The new hotel includes 16 double rooms and two suites that are primarily crafted from timber in a nod to the landscape and the regional raw materials used in the restaurant at the top of the hill. Related: Snøhetta completes stunning Norwegian cabins for glacier hikers To preserve panoramic landscape views from the restaurant, reception and conference area at the top of the site, the hotel rooms were placed on a lower level of the slope and are accessed via an elevator and underground corridor that conforms to the shape of the hill. The hotel rooms are topped with green roofs that join seamlessly with the existing lawn in front of the restaurant and conference center. Dark exterior wood cladding also helps blend the new hotel rooms into the landscape. Inside, dark and light timber paneling wraps the contemporary interiors for a cozy and welcoming feel. The architects noted, “Although the extension of the facility was carefully adapted to the topography, it creates new landscape accents through its formal language and fits in well with the owner’s overall concept.” + Green Advisers AS Images via Interiørfoto AS by Håvard Nyeggen Løberg and Green Advisers AS

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Green-roofed yna hotel blends into a spectacular Nordic landscape

Smart home with AI sits above a nature reserve in Prague

November 10, 2020 by  
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Villa Sophia by COLL COLL celebrates the connection between technology and nature. A  smart home  with artificial intelligence, the house sits on the Trója hillside above a nature reserve with stunning views of Prague. The villa’s technological aspects feature blue light eliminating house lights and self-moving doors to aid in natural ventilation, while the green roof contributes to the building’s energetic balance. According to the architects, many of the structural and material construction choices are inspired by sustainability and durability. Samples of materials were tested for strength, elasticity stability, chemical stability and permanence before use. The house includes a  green roof  that is exposed from above, contributing to colorful blooms of plants and flowers throughout the seasons. This roof helps balance the building both energetically and aesthetically. Terraces around the house follow an unfolding star design that dissolves into the overgrown garden, which routinely sees a wide variety of wild animals. Related: Architecture students design and build a LEED Platinum smart home in Kansas The smart home comes completely connected, integrated with a Sysloop system platform and EMPYREUM Information Technologies  artificial intelligence . To aid healthy sleep cycles, all of the house lights operate in the full spectrum of light (RGBW) to slowly eliminate harsh blue light components. For natural air ventilation, the doors operate on linear magnets. One wing of the house is dedicated to music, with a concert room that uses A.I. to play musical pieces or unique melodies to accompany the residents’ musical performances. Apart from the house’s environmental and technological features, the property also enjoys panoramic views of  Prague’s  Dejvice Hotel International. The office looks out on the Libe? Gasholder, while the living room hosts views of the garden, and the bedroom offers a look into the treetops thanks to a descending terrain. To ensure that surrounding homes can also enjoy the panoramic city views, Villa Sophia sits at the shortest possible height. + COLL COLL Photography by BoysPlayNice

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Green-roofed theater in Shenzhen raises the bar for civic architecture

October 15, 2020 by  
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When the Pingshan District government in Shenzhen, China tapped Beijing-based OPEN Architecture to design the district’s first theater, the architects knew immediately that they wanted to create something different from the high energy-consuming and monotonous theaters that have recently become the norm throughout China. After taking a critical look at the past development of theaters in the country, the architects worked closely with the client to propose a new program for the Pingshan Performing Arts Center that emphasized social inclusivity by serving as a new cultural hub with amenities for both theater-lovers and the general public. Integrated with a public promenade and series of publicly accessible gardens, the contemporary theater also boasts a restaurant, a cafe, social and educational programming and an expansive landscaped roof that helps mitigate the urban heat island effect. Completed over the course of four years, the Pingshan Performing Arts Center eschews the extravagant exteriors that have defined many modern theaters in China in favor of a climate-responsive facade wrapped in precision-engineered perforated aluminum V sections that protect the building from sub-tropical sun exposure while enhancing natural ventilation. Related: This museum is carved into the seaside sand dunes of China’s Gold Coast At the heart of the new performing arts center — nicknamed “drama box” — is a 1,200-seat grand theater wrapped in dark red-toned wood panels that are visible from both inside the building and atop the roof, where the fly gallery can be seen. The grand theater is flanked by a series of smaller functional spaces and a public promenade that links together a cafe, a black box theater, teaching spaces, rehearsal rooms, an informal outdoor theater and outdoor gardens on multiple levels. “In breaking away from the mono-function Cultural Landmark typology, the building not only becomes much more sustainable in daily operation, but also sets a new example of social inclusivity for civic buildings ,” the architects explained. “Serving as a new cultural hub, it also provides the non-theater-going public with an exceptional and unusual urban space.” + OPEN Architecture Photography by Zeng Tianpei and Jonathan Leijonhufvud via OPEN Architecture

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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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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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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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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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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

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