Temple of Poop grows a flowering rooftop with human waste

March 3, 2020 by  
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Latvian design and build workshop Zeltini has made answering the call of nature into an environmental statement with the “Temple of Poop,” a timber outhouse that composts human waste into fertilizer for a rooftop garden. Built on the designer’s property in Latvia, the project celebrates “humanure” while simultaneously raising awareness of the benefits of human waste compost as a potential replacement to animal-based fertilizers. Designed by Zeltini founder Aigars Lauzis, the Temple of Poop — also known as the Z-BIOLOO — was produced as part of the design studio’s mission to better the world with sustainable projects. Clad in blackened timber to recede into the landscape, the contemporary, timber-framed outhouse features a Biolan composting toilet that automatically separates liquid from solids to turn human excrement into compost. Once ready, the compost can be used to fertilize the rooftop garden or the adjacent field. Related: Mirrored outhouse “disappears” into a lush river valley landscape To elevate the user experience, the Temple of Poop features a large, glazed opening to frame views of the landscape. A chimney with a kinetic revolving cowl was installed to extract unpleasant odors from the outhouse and help speed up the composting process. At the same time, a second chimney with an electric fan draws in the pleasant fragrance from the flowers grown on the roof into the building to continually introduce a fresh flow of oxygen. The outhouse walls are insulated to provide comfortable and stable temperatures year-round. “Being a vegan household, we don’t want to use animal-based fertilizers,” the design studio explained. “More than 7 billion people can easily fertilize this planet, and there is no need for meat / dairy industries to do it for us.” The Temple of Poop project was designed and built by Aigars Lauzis and Andis Veigulis in 2018 for approximately 3,000 euros (approximately $3,270). + Zeltini Images via Zeltini

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Temple of Poop grows a flowering rooftop with human waste

Minimalist, charred-timber tiny cabin is only 129 square feet

March 3, 2020 by  
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Belgian firm dmvA Architects has unveiled a sophisticated and sustainable tiny cabin clad in charred timber. Just shy of 130 square feet, Cabin Y is a lightweight, flexible structure that is easily transportable and reconfigurable. Additionally, the cabin runs on solar power, meaning it doesn’t have to rely on the grid for energy. dmvA architects is known for its long-standing commitment to designing sustainable structures that achieve “maximalism through minimalism.” According to the firm, the inspiration for Cabin Y came from the need for a flexible and lightweight building that could serve a variety of uses, from tiny retreats and art studios to permanent home additions and commercial applications. In fact, the cabin is so lightweight and compact that it is easily transported on a standard-sized flatbed trailer. Related: Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps Using charred larch wood on the tiny cabin’s cladding not only gives the structure a modern, sophisticated aesthetic but makes it more durable. The cabin is comprised of individual wooden sections that are connected by stainless steel tension cables that form an X-shape; this unique construction enables the cabin to be customized to individual needs. Contrasting nicely with the dark exterior, the interior is clad in white oiled pine. The front door to the cabin is a massive glass door that swivels open. This glazed entrance offers sweeping views of the tiny cabin’s setting, wherever that may be, while also allowing the daylight to stream in. The minimalist , 129-square-foot interior consists of one large room with a sleeping loft, which is reached by ladder. The compact bathroom is located in the back of the cabin and includes a toilet and a shower. A rooftop solar array allows Cabin Y to be entirely self-sufficient. The tiny cabin also boasts an impressively tight thermal envelope thanks to hemp insulation . + dmvA architect Via ArchDaily Photography by Bart Gosselin via dmvA architect

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Minimalist, charred-timber tiny cabin is only 129 square feet

San Francisco library boasts a green roof and LEED Gold status

February 7, 2020 by  
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When Hacker Architects redesigned a historic, 1969 branch library in the southeastern Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco in 2013, the firm wanted to make sure that the building continued to serve as an educational and communal space for the area. As such, added sustainability measures were included to support the environmental goals for the library but also to act as teaching tools for the community. The library replaced an original building on the same site and features green design elements, such as solar panels and a lush green roof, that earned it LEED Gold certification. Despite its modern, sustainable technologies, the project honors its history and celebrates the local culture and community in its design. Related: LEED Silver museum’s shimmering, iridescent facade evokes flames in Kansas In the center of the library, a courtyard brings in natural ventilation and light, all while providing visitors with views of an urban garden. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light even deeper into the building. The library’s green roof is also visible from the inside. The vegetation, mostly native grasses and perennials, on the roof helps filter stormwater runoff, while the onsite electricity is generated through solar panels. Additionally, a natural ventilation system inside helps to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the interior. The 9,000-square-foot library was renamed in 2015 to commemorate Linda Brooks-Burton, who worked as the head librarian of the branch from 1995 until 2011. Brooks-Burton was an advocate for education, co-founding the Bayview History Preservation Project and the Bayview Footprints Network of Community Building Groups in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Brooks-Burton passed away unexpectedly in 2013, just months after the library was rebuilt. The building received the 2013 Sustainability Award from the Portland, Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects San Francisco and was named a New Landmark Library by the Library Journal. Karin Payson Architecture and Design (KPa+d) was awarded the Kirby Ward Fitzpatrick Prize by the San Francisco Architectural Foundation for its role as associate architect and interior designer for the project. + Hacker Architects Photography by Bruce Damonte via Hacker Architects

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San Francisco library boasts a green roof and LEED Gold status

Restored Georgian townhouse has rainwater-fed green roof

January 23, 2020 by  
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The Sun Rain Room is an extension and restoration of a two-story Grade-II listed townhouse designed and constructed by Tonkin Liu. Partnering with local craftspeople to complete the project, the London-based architecture firm was able to create an extension of the existing structure through a landscape that feeds off of the sun and rain . The house, which was built as a home and studio for the owner, features a green roof , garden room and reflecting pool that are all designed to uniquely celebrate nature. The garden room on the ground floor is encased in a wall of curved glass that works as both a living space for occupants and as a meeting area for the owner’s professional studio. The covered outdoor area connected to the garden room contains a studio workshop, kitchen, potting shed, recycling bay and a store. Another wall of sliding mirrors conceals the planter for a collection of small trees that grow through the green roof overhead. The neighboring open patio covers a basement refurbished with a new bedroom, two bathrooms and a utility area. The courtyard garden’s perimeter walls support a roof made of plywood cut to allow the most possible light into the site. Between the patio (which frames the terrace) and the house sits an etched glass staircase to bridge the two spaces. The true meaning of “Sun Rain Room” comes to play with the 110-millimeter structural shell roof that is perforated with coffered skylights made to mimic raindrops that land onto the pool . This creates an ethereal, organic environment inside the home. To make the townhouse more sustainable, heat loss from the ground floor is decreased through double-glazed, double-laminated glass with low-e coatings. Waterproof concrete was used in the construction of the basement, which removed the need for a backup waterproofing system. What’s more, the light-well from the plywood roof around the courtyard has improved the affecting passive ventilation strategy for the home. The green roof not only contributes to sustainable drainage, but is also planted with local trees and plants that suit the natural habitat to improve the site’s biodiversity . The reflecting pool is filled naturally with harvested rainwater, also used to irrigate the green roof. + Tonkin Liu Images via Alex Peacock, Greg Storrar, Tonkin Liu, and Alexander James Photography

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Henning Larsen unveils plans for Copenhagens first all-timber community

January 23, 2020 by  
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A sustainable, nature-filled neighborhood unlike any other in Denmark could soon take root just beyond Copenhagen’s city center. Scandinavian architecture firm Henning Larsen has collaborated with biologists and environmental engineers from MOE to design the Fælledby community, a proposal for Copenhagen’s first all-timber neighborhood. Proposed for a former dumping ground site, the development promotes sustainable living, a reduced carbon footprint and a harmonious relationship with nature. Designed to accommodate 7,000 residents on an 18.1-hectare project site, the Fælledby community features a hybrid architectural design that merges traditional Danish urban design with rural typologies and includes a mix of housing types. The development, which would be about the size of Billund, would be built in phases and comprise three radial village-like “cores” that accommodate about 2,300 people each. These cores are connected via a series of native-planted green corridors, thereby maximizing access to nature and ensuring free movement for local wildlife . For any given residence, nature will be less than a 2-minute walk away. Related: Henning Larsen completes award-winning Wave apartments in Denmark The green corridors will be part of the undeveloped habitat for local flora and fauna, which make up 40% of the development. Nature will also be integrated into the built environment with nests for songbirds and bats built into the walls of the houses. A pond that occupies the center of each of the three Fælledby “villages” will offer a habitat for frogs and salamanders, while community gardens would attract other local species and encourage neighborly relations. “Deciding to build the natural landscape around Fælledby comes with a commitment to balance people with nature,” said Signe Kongebro, partner at Henning Larsen. “Specifically, this means that our new district will be Copenhagen’s first built fully in wood and incorporating natural habitats that encourage richer growth for plants and animals. With the rural village as an archetype, we’re creating a city where biodiversity and active recreation define a sustainable pact between people and nature.” + Henning Larsen Images via Henning Larsen

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Henning Larsen unveils plans for Copenhagens first all-timber community

Award-winning Australian winery adds new, sustainable building

December 25, 2019 by  
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Victoria’s Yarra Valley is an idyllic region known for its award-winning vineyards. Now, guests to the  Medhurst Winery  have a new, sustainable tasting area to enjoy the label’s delicious wine selection. The family-run winery has just added the Cellar Door — a contemporary extension that was built with resilient and  sustainable features . Designed by  Folk Architects , the new contemporary space allows visitors to view the entire wine-making process, from the vineyards and production area to the gorgeous tasting facility. The main building of the winery sits in a prestigious location, elevated on a sloped landscape overlooking the vineyards. A low-lying elongated volume, the contemporary building features one section made of heat-reflective, polycarbonate material. The translucent walls allow natural light to illuminate the wine-making area during the day, while at night revealing a picturesque view of wine-making equipment found within. Related: Modern timber winery blends Japanese and Viennese influences The winery’s rooftop features an expansive green roof with a state-of-the-art rainwater collection system. According to the winery, the roof collects around 500,000 liters of rainwater every year. This water is filtered and used in the wine-making process. Now, visitors to the winery will have a sophisticated place to taste the wonderful Medhurst wines. The new Cellar Door sits adjacent to the 250-ton wine-making facility and features a design that mimics its linear volume, while subtly curving around the ends. Located in a bushfire zone, the Cellar Door’s materials were chosen for their durable and sustainable qualities. The building’s main materials include a bold mix of oxidized steel and fire-resistant timber. Additionally, the roof eaves were carefully designed to jut out over the building’s frame to let in the maximum amount of sunlight during winter, while also reducing solar glare during summer. This passive feature allows the building to reduce its mechanical heating and cooling throughout the year. On the inside, visitors are greeted by a warm space designed for taking in the incredible views and tasting the award-winning wine. The entrance-way includes a 40-foot concrete bench that sits under a wall of thin timber slats . Raw steel accents throughout give the interior a modern industrial feel. With the addition of the Cellar Door, visitors can view the entire wine-making process. From the wine tastings offered at the Cellar Door, visitors can follow a winding path through the beautiful landscape to the production area, before making their way out to the vineyards beyond. + Folk Architects + Medhurst Winery Via ArchDaily Photography by Peter Bennetts

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Green-roofed sports center adds sculptural appeal to the Augustow riverfront

December 20, 2019 by  
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Polish architecture firms PSBA and INOONI have recently completed a strikingly angular water sports center in the heart of Augustow, Poland that shows how architecture can double as a public sculpture. Topped with a green roof, the facility complements the surrounding park with a facade clad in untreated Siberian larch. The building serves as a canoeing training base and is the first phase completed in a multiphase masterplan. The architects were awarded the bid to design and build the Augustow canoeing training base after winning a 2016 architecture competition for the development of recreational spaces along the Netta River. The project will include a multifunctional sports field, pump track, playground and scenic rest areas. Located on the West Bank of the Netta River, the newly built sports center was placed at a highly visible and picturesque bend of the river that is visited by locals and tourists alike. Related: FAAB reimagines Warsaw’s largest public square as a solar-powered cycle park The single-story facility features a triangular plan with a flat, landscaped green roof with a slight slope. The building is organized in two parts: a water-facing hangar for canoe and motorboat storage with a platform and a “workshop” area for the local canoe club. The “workshop” area includes gathering space for training and meetings, locker rooms, a gym with panoramic water views, a club room, a sports equipment warehouse and public bathrooms. The interiors feature a minimalist aesthetic that matches the exterior appearance. “Its characteristic form has associations with movement and dynamics,” the architects explained. “The sloping walls create distinctive arcades, highlighting the entrances and framing the views. The visual sight of the building is changing depending on where we look from. The dynamic form of the object allows an access from a mini stand into the roof of the hangar, where the observation deck is located.” + PSBA + INOONI Photography by Bartosz Dworski via INOONI

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Green-roofed sports center adds sculptural appeal to the Augustow riverfront

Gift loved ones with classes that teach and build nature skills

December 20, 2019 by  
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Rather than gifting a material object this holiday season, opt to give an “experience” gift. Not only will it help minimize waste and clutter, but an experience gift can also be wonderfully green and intrinsically fulfilling. How so? Experience gifts, for instance, lead to quality bonding time, new skills and shared memories, all of which are priceless. Here are our top suggestions for nature courses and classes for the whole family, and be sure to check locally for nature courses near you. Wilderness survival There are various experience gifts out there, and Inhabitat celebrates those that teach about nature and cultivate an appreciation for the outdoors. Sometimes being in nature calls for wilderness survival skills for better preparedness, adaptability, endurance, resourcefulness and resilience in improvising during unexpected situations. Survival might require knowing how to tie knots and cordage, as well as knowing how to fashion and utilize stone tools. Wilderness survival classes will teach all of that and more. Related: 5 common weeds you can make into healthy (and free) teas Ice climbing and mountaineering The outdoors are best enjoyed year-round; even the winter can be an excellent time to commune with nature. What better way to do so than by partaking in ice climbing or mountaineering? Find a course near you to learn the skills needed to succeed in these athletic activities. Fly-fishing Fly-fishing appeals to many outdoor enthusiasts. This skill isn’t the same as catching fish with a simple fishing pole or net. To learn the angler intricacies of this pastime, check out Blue Quill Angler , Cabela’s Fly Fishing University , Fly Fishing Coach International , Lillard Fly Fishing and Orvis’ Fly Fishing Learning Center . Falconry lessons Falconry has been known as the “sport of emperors,” for it has long been a passion of many monarchs and historical figures. Modern falconry mainly cultivates a bond between falconer and falcon, birder and raptor. In other words, modern falconry is about avian stewardship , especially because one has to be licensed with the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife or a similar local organization, such as a state wildlife department or agency, depending on your location. But the experience is a rewarding one because of the meticulous care that must be given to falcons and raptors. To learn more, contact the North American Falconers Association (NAFA) , which has been protecting and serving North American falconry since 1961. Celestial navigation Seafarers have been known to orient themselves in the open ocean by the night sky. The night sky and its stars are all part of the natural world; hence, learning to identify the constellations and other astronomical wonders will instill a deeper appreciation for nature. You can learn how to orient yourself by stargazing, thanks to resources offered by the American Sailing Association , The Great Courses and U.S. Sailing , just to name a few. Foraging Foraging is all about searching for food and particular plants. One can forage for savory spices, edible mushrooms, herbs and even medicinal plants. Foraging courses abound including at establishments like Backyard Forager , Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine , forageSF , Grow Forage Cook Ferment , Herbal Academy and Wild Plant Guide . A directory of foraging organizations is also available here . Related: Incredible edible landscape map shows you where to find free food Identifying trees and shrubs Woody plants , like trees and shrubs, come in all shapes and sizes. You can expand your knowledge of them by taking courses on identifying their characteristics and learning about the landscapes in which they can be found. Identifying animals and their tracks Besides identifying plants for foraging purposes, there are also courses that assist with identifying mammals, birds and other animals , not just by their appearance but also by their calls and spoor. Some of the best places to learn more about obtaining these skills include Adventure Out (which also offers programs for corporate retreats and team-building events), Earth Skills , Earthwork Programs , Natural Awareness Tracking School , Nature Tracking , Naturalist Ventures , Tracker School and Tracker Certification from CyberTracker North America . Homesteading Homesteading is essentially a lifestyle of self-sufficiency, with reliance on subsistence agriculture and permaculture, preservation of food via canning and drying, a return to simple textiles and an affinity for the traditions of earlier eras. Modern homesteaders also tend to rely on renewable energy, be it solar or wind power. Courses on homesteading include aquaponics, beekeeping, bread and cheese making, organic gardening, permaculture, homemaking and farm management. Images via Shutterstock

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A lush public park grows on the roof of a luxury Wuhan mall

November 20, 2019 by  
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When Los Angeles-based design studio 5+design was tapped to create a high-end mall in Wuhan, China, the firm was also given the opportunity to create a publicly accessible green space — an amenity in decline in the city due to rapid development. As a result, the 164,000-square-meter Wuhan North Pavilion supports a lush public rooftop park that’s accessible from the ground level and provides active and passive spaces for children and adults alike. Designed to foster community and an added sense of identity, the park’s seasonal planting palette references Wuhan’s pastoral landscapes and the region’s agricultural past. Built to span the entire length of the mall, the rooftop public park features a mix of walkways, recreational spaces and children’s play areas. The landscape design helps define a variety of active and passive spaces, while the plant choices create “an ecological haven.” Greenery is also integrated into the street-level landscape and along the other parts of the architecture to soften the appearance of the building and to give the mall a more human scale. Related: Studio NAB wants to rehab parking lots into energy-producing urban gardens “With Wuhan’s steady decline of green space in the face of rapid development, Wuhan North Pavilion preserves a place to observe and absorb nature that goes beyond the standard use of today’s retail spaces,” the designers explained in a project statement. “The addition of careful planting with variety in scale, openness and intimacy creates a new kind of public space within the city that fosters community and an added sense of identity.” In addition to the rooftop park’s benefits in fighting the urban heat island effect , the Wuhan North Pavilion incorporates energy-saving features such as LED lighting, fans, pumps and chillers. Water usage has been reduced thanks to low-flow urinals and bathroom fixtures fitted with sensors. Low-emitting materials, adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings were also selected to help reduce indoor air pollutants. + 5+design Images via 5+design

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BIGs LEED Gold-seeking school in Arlington features a cascade of green terraces

November 14, 2019 by  
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After five years in the making, BIG has completed The Heights, a new public school building in Arlington, Virginia that not only offers a unique and energy-efficient take on school architecture, but also helps maximize density and open space. Located along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, The Heights combines two existing secondary schools into a new 180,000-square-foot building that opens like a fan with a cascade of green-roofed terraces to provide an indoor-outdoor learning landscape. An emphasis on natural daylighting, green space, material reuse and energy efficiency has put the building on track to achieve LEED Gold certification . Completed on a $100 million budget, the dynamic new school building houses two programs: the H-B Woodlawn Program that offers visual and performing arts-focused curricula for grades 6 through 12, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program that serves students aged 11 to 22 with special needs. The school can accommodate an expected enrollment of up to 775 students. Related: Rammed earth Kopila Valley School is the “greenest school in Nepal” To make the most of a compact urban site bounded by roads on three sides, BIG organized the school as a stack of five rectangular floorplates rotated around a fixed pivot point to create a series of outdoor green-roofed terraces connected with a rotating central staircase. The spacious first terrace can be used for special events while the upper terraces are more suitable as classroom and study areas. The classroom “bars” have also informed the interior layout, which is anchored by a central vertical core containing the elevators, stairs and bathrooms as well as a triple-height lobby with stepped seating on the ground floor. For easy accessibility and to encourage public interaction throughout the school, the lobby is directly adjacent to many of the school’s common spaces, such as the 400-seat auditorium , main gymnasium, library, reception and cafeteria. Intuitive wayfinding is also extended to the classroom spaces in that each classroom “bar” is defined by its own color used to paint the walls and lockers. In contrast to its colorful interior, The Heights’ exterior is clad in white glazed brick to unify its fanned-out massing and to respect the surroundings, including the historic architecture of Old Town Alexandria. Select materials from the former Wilson School, which The Heights was built to replace, have been salvaged and reused in the new build. + BIG Photography by Laurian Ghinitoiu via BIG

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