Miami Beach Aquatic Center and Park will include 3 acres of native landscaping

March 30, 2021 by  
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Architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa recently unveiled its design concept for the new Miami Beach Aquatic Center and Park. Among two pools and thousands of square feet worth of retail and community space, the project will highlight local plants and trees with native landscaping. The project is one of three finalists for the new community area in Florida . The community park will span three acres and will protect existing trees while adding a plethora of native plants to create its own microclimate. Additionally, the building’s green roof planters will harvest and treat stormwater, and all water runoff from the site will be directed to a system that will allow it to be reused for irrigation. Related: Serpentine roof tops a solar-powered community center in Western Sydney In a unique ecological setting like Florida, including native plants in landscape designers is an easy choice. Local plants are already adapted to the local climate and soil conditions and often do not require pesticides or as much irrigation (helping to prevent erosion). Plus, they are important for local pollinators like bees and hummingbirds. In addition to the green planters, the building’s roof also features solar panels to provide an alternative energy source during peak electricity hours. Located just a block from the beach, the structure’s ocean-facing terraces provide sweeping views for community members to enjoy. There is a 50-meter competition pool and a 25-meter multipurpose pool as well as a fitness center to promote healthy lifestyles. The architects hope that the center can become a “Community Living Room” for the local North Beach area, providing a central gathering space in a district that is already embracing walkability. There are spots to unwind but equal space to socialize with friends or shop thanks to the 10,000 square feet of retail. A 7,500-square-foot branch library welcomes students and community members to relax and learn. Tying the aquatic center and park together will be the parking lot, which is stacked to reduce its footprint and provide direct access to the lush green space. + Brooks + Scarpa Via ArchDaily   Images via Brooks + Scarpa

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Miami Beach Aquatic Center and Park will include 3 acres of native landscaping

An urban farm tops a LEED Gold-targeted health education tower in Toronto

March 11, 2021 by  
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Global design practice Perkins and Will has raised the bar for sustainable campus design with the award-winning Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex, a Ryerson University facility designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. As an example of “vertical campus typology,” the 28-story tower combines academic departments, residences, labs, administrative offices and even a rooftop urban farm in Toronto’s dense downtown core. Completed in 2019 for $104 million CAD, the health education tower was crowned the 2021 Best Tall Building Award by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Located on the east side of Ryerson’s campus near Yonge–Dundas Square, the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex offers nearly 300,000 square feet of state-of-the-art living and learning space and serves as a new gateway into campus. The striking high-rise is wrapped in expansive glazing along with white aluminum panels punctuated by vibrant orange accents. As part of Ryerson University’s goal of shaping the future of Toronto , the eye-catching tower features public spaces woven throughout the building. An atrium at the street level also activates the public realm with a café and study spaces. The café kitchen uses fresh produce sourced from the urban farm on the roof. Related: Canada’s first net-zero carbon, mass-timber college building to rise in Toronto The first eight stories of the building house four academic departments — the Schools of Nursing, Midwifery, Nutrition and Occupational and Public Health — with classrooms , teaching kitchens and labs. The tower also includes a digital fabrication lab that is visible from the outside, flexible research facilities and university administration offices. Residence dorms occupy the upper levels of the tower and house up to 330 students. Accessibility is made seamless throughout to encourage inclusivity, collaboration and community. In addition to a productive green roof , the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex integrates a variety of environmentally friendly features including low-impact materials; a graywater recycling system for the faucets, toilets and showers; and a metering and monitoring system that allows residence students to see their energy and water consumption online. The architects expect that the building will use 32% less energy and consume 35% less potable water compared to traditional construction. + Perkins and Will Photography by Tom Arban via Perkins and Will

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An urban farm tops a LEED Gold-targeted health education tower in Toronto

Pinea RV has its very own green roof

March 9, 2021 by  
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Barcelona-based studio ERA Architects is raising the bar for sustainable camping with its Pinea Mobile Ecological RV. The RV , which uses natural materials in its construction along with other eco-friendly features, is a prototype currently located in Mas els Igols retreat in the Penedés winery region of Spain. The prototype uses built-in systems for solar energy and rainwater harvesting but adds a unique touch with its innovative green roof. The RV’s single solar panel produces up to 50W retained in a battery to use for charging smartphones and various lighting inside. According to the designers, the battery system manufacturer in France gives a percentage of sales to a nonprofit in Africa. The architects supported collaborators from different parts of Spain in the project, using a company from Girona for the green roof , a textile manufacturer in Barcelona and metal works from Lleida. Related: Tiny mobile dwelling celebrates local Shinshu larch in Japan A specialized system of trays harvests rainwater for the RV’s green roof, which is full of Catalonian vegetation and substrate. The system holds 100 liters of water at a time. The outer fabric making up the exterior walls can be unzipped to let in the fresh air and sunlight or rolled down to provide privacy. The fabric, also made in Catalonia using a water-saving dying process, is both breathable and water-repellent. There is also a built-in mosquito net, perfect for camping in the evenings. Inside, you’ll find a large bed, a table with chairs and some storage furniture using certified wood (the same certified wood used to build the walls) and sustainable cork material. Most notably, the floors are made up of cork, although there is also projected cork and cork stoppers inside the wooden furniture. The designers also chose to use cork stoppers instead of isolation gravel on the green roof. + ERA Architects Images via ERA Architects

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Flexible prefab cabin wins Volume Zeros 2020 Tiny House competition

March 8, 2021 by  
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Mumbai-based architecture competition platform Volume Zero has announced the winners of the 2020 Tiny House Architecture Competition, a call for entries that celebrate sustainability and individuality through innovative design. A jury of international architects — including jurors from U.S.-based Desai Chia Architecture and Norway’s Saunders Architecture — awarded three flexible tiny house concepts with $4,000 in total prize money and also selected 10 entries as honorable mentions.  Spanish designer Jorge Cobo won first place in the competition with his entry, A Forest for Rest, a flexible prefab cabin with a tubular steel frame that can be suspended from trees or set on light foundations. Lined with timber slats, the 19.3-square-meter tiny house fits an open-plan living space with a separated bathroom on the ground floor along with an adaptable sleeping space that accommodates up to three people on the upper floor. The prefabricated and customizable home can also be equipped with a variety of sustainable technologies, from solar panels and rainwater reuse systems to green roofs and a ground-coupled heat exchanger. Related: The top 7 amazing tiny homes we’ve seen this year French duo Dylan Morel and Dorian Bernard took second place with the Ecottage, a charming, gabled, prefab tiny home designed to operate off of the grid . Topped with solar panels and equipped with a domestic rainwater harvesting system, the adaptable unit was created to operate independently in both urban and rural settings. Plywood was selected as the main construction material for its carbon-sequestering benefits, low cost and availability. The multifunctional interior includes a ground-floor living space and a mezzanine sleeping area. American designer Tak Ying Chan won third place with Off the Walls, a concept for sheltering people experiencing homelessness in New York City’s Bushwick neighborhood. Designed with recycled materials and a painted timber structural frame, the low-cost build integrates multifunctional furnishings to make the most of its small footprint. The modular, shed-roofed units can also be decorated with street art and murals. + 2020 Tiny House Architecture Competition Images via Volume Zero

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LEED Gold Columbia Building cleans stormwater runoff with green roofs

March 2, 2021 by  
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When Portland-based Skylab Architecture was asked by the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services to design an extension of a wastewater treatment facility, sustainability was immediately identified as a key priority. Not only did the architects need to design the public project to meet a minimum of LEED Gold certification, but the building would also have to serve an educational purpose by providing a working demonstration of onsite stormwater filtration. Completed in 2014, the award-winning Columbia Building successfully meets its design targets with an attractive green roof and a visible stormwater management system.  Located south of the Columbia River and about 9 miles north of downtown Portland , the 11,640-square-foot Columbia Building primarily serves as a workspace for the wastewater treatment’s engineering department. The building also includes a visitor reception area and public meeting spaces. Large windows with operable air circulation vents and mirrored glass along the north facade frame views toward a partially enclosed Commons area and the riverine landscape beyond.  Related: Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction From afar, the single-story building draws the eye with its seven folded, cast-in-place concrete roof forms designed to channel and filter stormwater into a visible water collection system. After passing through the series of green roofs, the stormwater is drained along landscape berms for further filtration. The treated water is finally discharged back into the Columbia River. “This project accomplished three unique objectives in one single campus site: we created a vibrant and efficient workspace, clean on-site stormwater filtration and a dynamic conversation around the health of the surrounding watershed all working for clean rivers,” the architects noted in a project description. The Columbia Building has received nearly a dozen awards, including the 2015 Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design: American Architecture Award and the 2014 ASLA Oregon Award of Excellence. + Skylab Architecture Photography by Jeremy Bittermann via Skylab Architecture

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LEED Gold Columbia Building cleans stormwater runoff with green roofs

Amazon unveils spiraling, tree-covered skyscraper for Arlington HQ2

February 16, 2021 by  
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Amazon has unveiled images of The Helix, a LEED Platinum-targeted, spiraling tower that will serve as the centerpiece building for the Amazon HQ2 in Arlington, Virginia. Like The Spheres, Amazon’s first headquarters in Seattle, the new building takes inspiration from biophilia with a form that mimics the shape and beauty of a double helix. Designed by international architecture firm NBBJ , the 350-foot-tall building — dubbed The Helix — will run entirely on renewable energy sourced from a solar farm in southern Virginia that will be used to power an all-electric central heating and cooling system. Located in Arlington’s Crystal City, the Amazon HQ2 is a planned corporate headquarters and expansion of the company’s existing Seattle headquarters and is expected to consolidate 2.8 million square feet of offices, public gathering areas and street-front retail distributed across three 22-story buildings. The recently unveiled Helix building is part of Amazon’s recently submitted development proposal for HQ2’s second phase of new construction. All new buildings are designed to meet LEED Platinum standards. Related: Amazon’s incredible plant-filled biospheres open in Seattle Described by the tech giant as “an alternative workplace integrating work with nature,” The Helix prioritizes healthy work environments with its indoor-outdoor design that includes a pair of spiraling, fresh-air “hill climbs.” The unique building will be open to the public on select weekends every month. In addition to the LEED Platinum-targeted office buildings, Amazon HQ2’s second phase also calls for 2.5 acres of public space with a dog run as well as an outdoor amphitheater that seats over 200 people; three retail pavilions that comprise 100,000 square feet of new space for restaurants, shops and plentiful outdoor seating; and a dedicated 20,000-square-foot community space that can support educational initiatives and an artist-in-residence program. All vehicular access will be tucked underground wherever possible to prioritize pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly paths. + NBBJ Images via NBBJ

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Amazon unveils spiraling, tree-covered skyscraper for Arlington HQ2

Sustainable Brook Hollow homes feature unexpected pops of color

February 16, 2021 by  
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Jeannie and Daryl Losaw, owners of Texas-based Losaw Construction and IBS Homes, have begun construction on their affordable and sustainable homes at Brook Hollow Club Estates in San Marcos, Texas. The Brook Hollow homes will have playful, brightly colored exterior accent walls to give them a touch of extra character in the Texas Hill Country. The company, which owns and developed the Brook Hollow Club Estates, has been in operation since 2006. During that time, it has focused on sustainable and affordable homes in Central and South Texas, especially near the state’s capital of Austin. Related: Solar-powered dome in the Texas desert is the perfect place to go off the grid Surrounded by willow trees on a quarter-acre of land, the group of 25 houses will include shed roof styles with clean lines, multiple windows and front porches . The light gray paint on the outside of the homes is accented by a bright splash of color, giving these structures a unique style in an otherwise contemporary design. There are four models available ranging from 1,400 to 1,700 square feet: the Stanton, the King, the Chavez and the Ginsburg. Homes cost anywhere from $220,000 to $259,000, but the many green features included in the design will likely help reduce customer costs in the long run. These include an efficient residential air conditioning system taken from a commercial method where air is exchanged and treated. The system, which also helps keep the interior free from outside allergens, is complemented with spray foam insulation. Aside from this high-performing HVAC design, the Brook Hollow homes use a steel foundation that is more carbon-friendly than concrete, according to the company. These helical pier foundations are easily recycled and moved from place to place if need be, taking up less resources. Additionally, the metal roofing used in construction is also recyclable, highly durable and comes prepared for solar installation. + Brook Hollow Club Estates Images via IBS Homes

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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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Smart home with AI sits above a nature reserve in Prague

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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