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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Tropicfeel launches hemp capsule clothing collection

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

This timber home weaves around pine trees for reduced site impact

June 25, 2020 by  
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A cluster of timber boxes make up Haus Koeris, a new eco-friendly home by architecture firm Zeller & Moye . Located near a lake close to Berlin, the sustainable home comprises five staggered boxes that not only step around the mature tree trunks to reduce site impact but are also elevated off the ground to avoid harming the trees’ horizontal root systems. Full-height glazing, a minimalist timber palette and energy-saving systems help reinforce the home’s connection with the outdoors. Nestled among the tall pine trees in the lakeside village of Klein Köris, Haus Koeris responds to the forested surroundings with its timber construction . Regional spruce wood clads the exterior while solid timber floors and ceilings line the interior, which also features a modular wall system of wooden building blocks and wood fiber-based insulation. To protect the timber home from the seasonally damp soil as well as damage to the root systems of the existing trees, the architects elevated the lightweight building atop individual concrete foundations laid out in a grid. The shifts in floor plan create opportunities for alcoves used for small patios and gardens. Related: Minimalist villa in Japan boasts dark timber exterior and bright white interior Spread out across 1,400 square feet on a single level, the irregularly shaped home is centered on a large, open-plan kitchen, dining room and living space that opens up to the outdoors on all four sides. The master bedroom, bathroom and laundry facilities branch off of the great room on the northern end, while a secondary bedroom, storage and flex room are located on the southwest side. Windows have been strategically placed to frame views of the nearby trees and the expansive garden . To reduce energy usage, the home is equipped with a wood-fire stove and a biogas boiler for heating in winter. In summertime, operable windows bring in cooling cross breezes. Moreover, a small bio-waste treatment plant was installed onsite to treat all wastewater before releasing it back into the ground. In the future, a series of green roofs will be installed atop the home. + Zeller & Moye Photography by Cesar Bejar via Zeller & Moye

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This timber home weaves around pine trees for reduced site impact

Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs

May 20, 2020 by  
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Contemporary, sustainable and welcoming, Temple University’s new Charles Library in Philadelphia raises the bar for research libraries around the world. Completed by  Snøhetta  for $135 million in 2019, the new LEED Gold-targeted Charles Library is not only a beacon of energy-efficient design, but also integrates a diversity of collaborative and social learning spaces that are typically left out of traditional research libraries. The new library also boasts a 47,300-square-foot green roof — one of the largest in Pennsylvania — that covers over 70% of the building’s roof surface and is part of a stormwater management system designed to manage all rainwater runoff on the approximately three-acre site, plus an additional acre of off-site impervious ground.  Built to replace the Paley Library, the Charles Library offers more than double the number of study spaces compared to its 1960s predecessor. The 220,000-square-foot  library  is located at the intersection of two major pedestrian pathways, Polett Walk and Liacouras Walk, and responds to its high-traffic location with an inviting public-facing design that includes generous plazas sloping up to the library entrances. Large expanses of glazing and grand wooden arched entrances cut into the split-faced granite facade help emphasize a welcoming atmosphere. Inside, the building is centered on a large domed atrium lobby that offers views of every corner of the building. Natural light is a key feature of the new library, particularly on the sun-filled fourth floor where visitors are encouraged to wander through stacks of the library’s browsable collection. The fourth floor also looks out on views of the lush  green roof  and gardens, which are planted with over 15 different species to provide a rich urban habitat for pollinators.  Related: LEED Gold-targeted library and community park has otherworldly appeal The 47,300-square-foot green roof is part of the library’s  stormwater management  system that also includes pervious paved plazas and paths as well as landscaped planting beds. Rainwater that infiltrates these permeable surfaces are directed into two underground catchment basins that can store and process nearly half a million gallons of water during storm events.  + Snøhetta Images © Michael Grimm

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Charles Library boasts one of Pennsylvania’s largest green roofs

Modernist, off-grid home in Los Angeles features a huge green roof

May 20, 2020 by  
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New York-based Marc Thorpe Design has brought its savvy architectural talents to the City of Angels in the form of a beautiful, off-grid home set in the Hollywood Hills. Topped with a massive green roof, the Case Study 2020 residence is completely self-sustaining thanks to solar power, a rainwater collection system and a composting system. Set into a quiet lot covered in native plants, the house features a modernist design. Inspired by the Case Study Houses of the 1950s and 1960s, which challenged several prominent architects to design affordable and efficient homes, the Case Study 2020 home is an off-grid marvel that blends sustainability, affordability and thoughtful architecture. Related: Stunning green-roofed home in Poland is embedded into the idyllic landscape A one-level structure that combines concrete, steel, wood and glass, the Case Study 2020 home is square in shape, with an overhanging flat roof that is covered in lush vegetation. At various corners of the green rooftop , open cutouts make way for large trees to grow through. Besides its eye-catching appearance and ability to blend the home into its surroundings, this impressive green roof also conceals a rainwater harvesting system that is used to irrigate the greenery. The exterior of the home is wrapped in massive, floor-to-ceiling glass panels and surrounded by a covered walkway. At the back end of the property, a narrow swimming pool sits just feet away, surrounded by a simple, concrete-clad patio space. This thick, exposed concrete follows through into the interior, where concrete walls, ceilings and flooring bring home the modernist style. The spacious interior of the solar-powered home is comprised of three principle living spaces: the living room, a gallery and the bedrooms — all of which are connected by a series of wide corridors that also lead to the outdoor patio spaces via several accesses. Throughout Case Study 2020, the glass walls and sliding glass doors usher in natural light and ventilation, not to mention stunning views of the twinkling lights of Los Angeles. + Marc Thorpe Design Images via Marc Thorpe Design

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Modernist, off-grid home in Los Angeles features a huge green roof

Elevated, green-roofed cabin minimizes impact on mountain in Norway

May 7, 2020 by  
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Designed by San Francisco- and Oslo-based firm Mork-Ulnes Architects , the Skigard Hytte Cabin in Norway features various openings on each side that allow the architects, who designed the cabin for themselves, to immerse themselves in the incredible, mountainous surroundings. The 1,500-square-foot cabin is resilient to the extreme weather and is elevated off the landscape to reduce its impact. To top it all off, the cabin is crowned with a lush green roof . Located close to the peak of the mountain, the beautiful wood cabin holds court west of Kvitfjell, a ski resort about 45 minutes north of Lillehammer. The pristine area is known for its skiing opportunities and is appreciated for its spectacular natural beauty. With a shared love of skiing and exploring the outdoors, architects Casper and Lexie Mork-Ulnes decided to build their dream cabin here. Related: Pinwheel-shaped timber cabin grows more beautiful over time Perched on a steep slope on thin CLT stilts to reduce its impact, the cabin was designed to pay homage to the area by using traditional building materials such as skigard , a cut log that is typically used for fencing by Norwegian farmers. The rough, diagonal facade gives the cabin a unique appearance throughout the year. But in the wintertime, snow falls and gathers within the log gaps, blending the Skigard Hytte Cabin into its surroundings. The cabin’s grass-covered rooftop is also a nod to the vernacular architecture , including the typical log house constructions found throughout Scandinavia in the 19th century. The sod roof moves with the wind, contrasting and complementing the cabin’s otherwise rigid exterior. The interior design is also Scandinavian in both appearance and materials. Throughout the cabin, the minimalist design features solid pine paneling. From nearly every angle, full-height glazing provides ample natural light and, of course, picturesque views. Spanning about 1,500 square feet, the cabin has three bedrooms and a spa, along with a guest annex. The main living area follows an open-plan layout housing the kitchen, dining area and lounge space. At the end of this area is the master bedroom and sauna . Walking through the other side of the home, the residents are greeted by a unique, open-air portal that leads to the guest annex. The annex offers breathtaking views of the mountain range and valleys below. + Mork-Ulnes Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Bruce Damonte, Juan Benavides and Tor Ivan Boine via Mork-Ulnes Architects

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Elevated, green-roofed cabin minimizes impact on mountain in Norway

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