LEED Gold Gateway Arch Museum sports a 3-acre green roof in St. Louis

February 4, 2019 by  
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Praised for its use of sustainable materials and energy-saving features, the recently renovated Visitor Center and Museum at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis has just been awarded LEED Gold certification. Currently one of only eleven other LEED-certified National Park Service sites, the newly expanded development is the work of Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Associates , in collaboration with Trivers Associates , and marks the centerpiece for the renewal of the 91-acre Gateway Arch National Park. The updated 150,000-square-foot building is tucked almost entirely underground and is topped with a 3.1-acre green roof. Opened to the public in July of last year, the Visitor Center and Museum at the Gateway Arch is designed to maximize park space and provide improved visitor amenities without drawing attention away from Eero Saarinen’s iconic arch. By tucking the building underground beneath a vegetated roof, the architects not only preserves unobstructed sight lines to the Gateway Arch, but also helps reduce the heat island effect and maximizes the amount of open space. The energy cost savings for the project is estimated to be 24 percent below the baseline while the overall project’s potable water usage is estimated to have been reduced by over 31 percent from the baseline thanks to low-flow water features. “The National Park service has ambitious sustainability goals that the design team embraced enthusiastically,” Director of Cooper Robertson Scott Newman FAIA says. “In addition to a 3.1-acre extensive green roof , the building features further sustainable and resilient design components such as LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and close connections to local public transportation networks. These features bring a high level of efficiency that matches the National Park Service’s ambition. The LEED Gold certification recognizes that commitment and design innovation.” Related: The first Active House in North America is now complete near St. Louis Other factors that contributed to the project’s LEED Gold certification include the use of regionally extracted and manufactured (within 500 miles) construction materials that were selected based on their recycled content; low-emitting materials were chosen for the interior. Over 80 percent of the construction waste generated was diverted from landfills. Multiple recycling collection points and storage areas are located throughout the building. Water cisterns collect and recycle stormwater on site. + Cooper Robertson + James Carpenter Design Associates Images via Gateway Arch Park Foundation

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LEED Gold Gateway Arch Museum sports a 3-acre green roof in St. Louis

Green-roofed home is built of waste bricks and wood in Poland

January 23, 2019 by  
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Environmentally friendly with a beautifully textured facade, this brick house built of recycled materials in Poland has been nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019. Polish architecture firm Biuro Toprojekt designed the dwelling — fittingly named the Red House — that pays homage to the Cistercian landscape and history of Rudy Wielkie, a region in the Upper Silesia known for its brick architecture, with its walls built from hand-sorted waste bricks sourced from nearby brickworks. Environmentally friendly principles guided the design of the Red House, which was built mainly from locally accessible timber and bricks. The spacious, 364-square-meter building was constructed on a clearing at the edge of the forest. Views of the forest are embraced through full-height glazing that pull the outdoors in. A green roof was also installed and will blend the building into the landscape as the roof grows increasingly lush and the brick walls develop a patina. Unlike traditional brick construction, Red House adopts a more textural approach to its brick walls inspired by chiaroscuro, an art term describing the contrast between light and dark. The architects explained how they achieved this effect: “A variation of cross-linking was used, in which two bricks next to each other with heads on top of each other are pushed out on one side and pressed on the other side in relation to the face of the wall. This simple treatment significantly enriched the work of chiaroscuro on the façade. By completely removing the same pair of bricks , an openwork wall was created, concealing the window openings that could break the clean structure of the façade.” Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade Roughly square in plan, the Red House is accessed through an outdoor brick courtyard that takes up approximately a quarter of the home’s footprint. The entry foyer opens up to a stairway leading up to a small upper floor as well as the L-shaped, open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen. The master bedroom is located to the south of the living areas. A large outdoor patio on the west side of the house connects seamlessly to the living spaces and the master bedroom through sliding glass doors. + Biuro Toprojekt Photography by Juliusz Soko?owski via Biuro Toprojekt

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MVRDV unveils a three-dimensional city skyscraper for Shenzhen

December 31, 2018 by  
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MVRDV is shaking up skyscraper design in its competition-winning proposal for Chinese real estate developer Vanke’s new headquarters building in Shenzhen. Envisioned as a “three-dimensional city,” the striking 250-meter-tall Vanke Headquarter Tower — dubbed the Vanke 3D City by MVRDV — will consist of eight mixed-use blocks stacked together in a sculptural arrangement optimized for views. Accessible green roofs top the staggered volumes to create a lush, park-like environment integrated with water collection and recycling systems. The Vanke Headquarter Tower will comprise eight interlinked mixed-use volumes, beginning with a base of four blocks and culminating into a single crowning tower. With 167,000 square meters of floor space, the development will consist of leasable offices, retail space, a restaurant, a hotel and plenty of outdoor space. The design and placement of each block was inspired by the core values of Vanke: ‘health’, ‘energy’, ‘open’, ‘team’, ‘green’, ‘nature’, ‘future’ and ‘creative’. In addition to the pedestrian-friendly ground level, four blocks also feature indented facades — dubbed “windows to the world” — to create semi-public spaces lined with greenery for engaging the urban fabric. “Vanke 3D City can be seen as a new type of skyscraper. By stacking the required programmatic entities, initially proposed for two separate plots, on top of each other, the two individual Vanke Group Headquarter buildings are turned into a Vanke City,” said Winy Maas, principal and co-founder of MVRDV. “They turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. By opening the buildings, a series of giant collective halls are created with a view over the bay and to the world. The plazas , gardens and halls are connected by a series of stairs and elevators, linking the many blocks into a continuous urban fabric high off the ground — a true three-dimensional city.” Related: MVRDV completes massive, mountain-like vertical village for 5,000 residents in India The development’s multiple green roofs and gardens are designed for responsible stormwater management in keeping with Shenzhen’s “sponge city” program that aims to reduce the impact of the city on the environment. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2019. + MVRDV Images by ATCHAIN via MVRDV

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Climate-responsive H House celebrates the heritage of Kosovo

December 31, 2018 by  
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Recycled materials, energy-saving systems and references to Kosovan culture have been woven throughout the H House, a handsome and contemporary residence in ?aglavica, a village near the Kosovo capital of Pristina. Designed by  4M Group , the home serves as a beacon of optimism and energy-efficiency for the self-declared independent state, which has been defined by a long and troubled history. Sustainability is paramount to the dwelling and is expressed through the adoption of passive deign principles, locally sourced and recycled materials  and sensor-activated fixtures. As a partially recognized state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe, Kosovo is home to a rich culture and a long history of war. “Demonstrating awareness of the dichotomy of Kosovo’s recent history, the client wanted a house where safety and security was paramount, but with open, light-filled interiors,” said the architects, adding that they wanted to “reflect the cultural legacy and illustrate a renewed optimism in Pristina with the creation of the H House.” As a result, the outer appearance of the home takes inspiration from the Fustanella, the traditional Albanian dress worn by men, and mimics the folds of the white garment in its multifaceted facade. The angular exterior also has a practical purpose as well. The architects followed passive solar principles in the design of the airtight building to mitigate the region’s extreme temperature fluctuations and also installed heavily insulated reinforced concrete walls as well as deeply recessed triple-glazed windows. The construction materials and labor were sourced locally and recycled materials were used wherever possible. Consequently, the H House only takes a little energy to maintain a comfortable indoor environment year-round. Related: MVRDV will transform the Tirana Pyramid, a former communist monument, into an education center In addition to low-tech strategies, the architects installed smart systems for comfort control including automatically operating louvers and window fan lights. Heating is supplied via a dual air/water thermal heat pump that also powers the underfloor heating . A wood pellet boiler provides supplemental heating. Low-energy lighting and water-efficient fixtures have also been installed. + 4M Group Via ArchDaily Photography by Ilir Rizaj and Fitim Muçaj via 4M Group

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Climate-responsive H House celebrates the heritage of Kosovo

This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

November 1, 2018 by  
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Tapped to design a home for a master gardener in Portland, Oregon, Olson Kundig crafted the Country Garden House, a light-filled home that frames garden views from every room. Designed for indoor-outdoor living, the home features walls of glass that overlook stunning vistas and spans 5,300 square feet to accommodate the needs of a multigenerational family. Clad in reclaimed barnwood, the home’s simple gabled form and ample glazing are evocative of traditional farm architecture. Completed in 2013, the Country Garden House is designed to harmonize with its lush landscape. Timber is used throughout, from the exterior siding and soffits to the interior surfaces and furnishings. Large grid windows with black metal framing help to break up the timber palette while also brightening the interior with natural light. American plantsman and garden writer Dan Hinkley was brought on to collaborate on the design of the gardens, which are visible from every room in the home. A green roof further ties the house into its surroundings, as do the easily accessible outdoor living spaces designed for family gatherings. “The entry sequence brings visitors underneath leafy trellises to a front door that opens to a long vista through the living room, opening to views of the verdant hillside beyond,” the architects explained in a project statement. “A long gallery corridor separates the private bedroom spaces from the more ‘public’ living spaces, and showcases the owners’ artworks. Their art extends into the main living areas with custom casework designed to display a rich collection of Asian porcelain, as well as a hand-painted mural by Leo Adams in the dining room.” Related: This Puget Sound eco cabin is made almost entirely from reclaimed materials Enclosed by cedar walls and grid glazing, the living areas are anchored by a stone fireplace that separates the den from the living room. Exposed timber ceilings create “a sense of rustic refinement” and give the home another rustic counterpoint to the mix of contemporary and antique furnishings used throughout. + Olson Kundig Photography by  Jeremy Bittermann Photography via Olson Kundig

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This green-roofed home for a master gardener embraces nature

A solar-powered home hides behind a colossal, sloped green roof

October 12, 2018 by  
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We often profess our love of green roofs , but a recent home design in Krakow has really taken the idea to the next level. Polish firm Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa has just unveiled a beautiful home with an enormous green roof that’s sloped over the entire northern side of the home. The roof is so large that it camouflages the barn-inspired home entirely on one side, providing the home with its name, the House Behind the Roof. The 2,000-square-foot home is located in a residential area outside Krakow. The building is part of a housing estate with 10 other homes built relatively close together. According to the architects, the first stages of the planning were focused on ensuring the privacy of the homeowners. As a result, the home’s design was created with the immense roof that pulls double duty as an eave that shades the interior while providing the utmost in privacy. Related: A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture Although the architects wanted to go with a traditional, flat green roof, local building codes prohibited them from doing so. As an alternative, the architects decided to top the home with a 45-degree sloped plane on the northern side. Covered with lush succulents, the roof gives a touch of whimsy to the design but also acts as a privacy shade and insulation. On the southern side of the home, multiple solar panels soak up the sun’s energy. At the apex of the A-frame roof, a series of large skylights allow natural light into the home. The house is clad in a light-hued Western Red Cedar. Because of the resilient nature of the wood , it wasn’t necessary to treat the timber beforehand. As a result, the wood will take on a silver-gray patina over time. Additionally, care for the green roof is also minimal. Long-lasting dry periods in this region are not common, and the succulents planted on the roof are low-maintenance. The rustic wooden aesthetic continues throughout the interior of the two-story home. Along with the skylights, there are multiple windows that are mounted high in the walls to provide the interior with natural light and ventilation. The home is laid out in a rectangular plan, reminiscent of a traditional barn . The ground floor houses the kitchen and living space, along with a bathroom and utility room. The master bedroom and en suite bathroom are on the top floor, as well as two extra bedrooms and a children’s playroom. On the bottom floor, large sliding glass doors lead out to an open-air deck with a barbecue and dining space. + Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa Via Archdaily Photography by Bart?omiej Drabik

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New study suggests it’s time to replace modern, grassy lawns

October 12, 2018 by  
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The lush green lawns surrounding many homes, businesses, parks and other outdoor spaces might not be the greatest idea, according to Australian scientist Maria Ignatieva and Swedish scientist Marcus Hedblom. In a new study published in the journal  Science , the urban ecologists suggested that we need to rethink the modern lawn in favor of more sustainable options. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that the negative environmental consequences of green lawns far outweigh the natural benefits, and we need to start exploring new forms of groundcover. The scientists claimed that the amount of water , fertilizer and mowing that lawns require is a problem — especially when we use gas-powered mowers that emit carbon monoxide and other toxins into the air. The use of those mowers negates any positives of the lawn pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. Related: How to transform your wasteful grassy space into a food forest garden The ecologists also pointed out that globally, lawns occupy an amount of land equivalent to the area of England and Spain combined. In arid regions of the U.S., lawns are responsible for 75 percent of household water consumption. To make matters worse, weed killers and fertilizers used to keep lawns pristine find their way to the water table. If you think artificial turf is a solution, think again. Turf does not contribute to carbon sequestration — the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — and it also causes problems with water runoff. It is also possible that it could poison local water tables. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that some communities have started allowing natural meadows to grow instead of lawns. In places like Berlin, residents have allowed the landscape to grow wild. These ideas are a step in the right direction, but the ecologists suggest the need for more scientific research into some plant types that could develop into naturally short grass alternatives that don’t require a lot of water for survival. The study also urges people to change their way of thinking when it comes to their lawns. + Science Mag Via Phys.org Images via Daniel Watson

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LEED Gold home celebrates Utah’s brilliant light and beauty

September 28, 2018 by  
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Designed to “celebrate Utah’s brilliant light and raw beauty,” this LEED Gold -certified family home in Utah embraces indoor-outdoor living. Salt Lake City-based Sparano + Mooney Architecture crafted the home for clients who sought the perfect mountain home in Park City, Utah. Working in step with interior designer Julie Chahine of J Squared interior design and clients who had a clear idea of what they wanted, the architects pulled together a sustainable and contemporary dwelling that works in concert with the landscape inside and out. Perched at a high elevation overlooking views of Park City and the Utah Winter Olympic Park, the two-story Park City Modern Residence was designed with a sensitive approach to the landscape. The site-specific design and division of the public areas from the private zones were informed by the existing topography. Outdoor terraces offer a seamless connection to the outdoors with immediate access from the master suite and living room; an accessible green roof planted with native flora also offers stellar views of a nearby golf course. To relate the home to the mountain environment punctuated by highly textured scrub oak, the architects employed a nature-inspired material palette mainly comprising cedar wood, glass and board-formed concrete. “These were inspired through a study of transparency, minimalism and serenity,” the architecture firm noted in a project statement. “The architecture and interiors are speaking the same language — the details, color schemes and artwork — all worked so perfectly with the architecture. Julie’s palette came from nature, and our materiality did too.” Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof Certified LEED Gold, the 5,500-square-foot abode draws renewable energy from a ground-source heat pump and keeps its energy demands low with high performance, energy-efficient building systems. Passive solar orientation also helps the home keep comfortably cool in the summer months and retains heat and access to natural light in winter. + Sparano + Mooney Architecture Images by Derek Israelsen

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LEED Gold home celebrates Utah’s brilliant light and beauty

A dome made of rearview mirrors, seat belts and soda bottles floats on Grand River

September 28, 2018 by  
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Husband-and-wife team Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi of New York City-based SLO Architecture recently set afloat the latest iteration in their series of Harvest Domes — massive dome-shaped installations made from locally sourced, repurposed materials . Dubbed Harvest Dome 3.0, their most recent buoyant installation can be found in the Grand River of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where it celebrates the waterway’s heritage and role in powering the city’s manufacturing legacy. Measuring 20 feet in diameter, the colorful orb was constructed from a mix of surplus seat belts, rearview mirrors and soda bottles. Set afloat last month, Harvest Dome 3.0 was created for ArtPrize 10, a 19-day free event where artists from around the world transform three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids into an open-air gallery of art installations. SLO Architecture’s highly site-specific addition to this year’s line-up uses local materials harvested from the Grand River industry. Buoyed by a ring of 128 repurposed two-liter soda bottles, Harvest Dome 3.0 measures 20 feet in depth, 20 feet in width and 18 feet in height. “While the river’s energy propelled Grand Rapids to become a center for logging, furniture fabrication and automotive industries, the possibility of the river also engendered changes to landscape ecology, leading to flooding and contamination,” the designers explained in a project statement. “The transcendent abstract form of Harvest Dome 3.0 emerges from a flotsam of accumulated materials, its bright blue seat belt lines and sky-and-water-reflecting rearview mirrors shimmering like a bubble coming up from the surging rapids, transfiguring the river’s power and possibility.” Related: Beautiful Harvest Dome constructed from 450 found umbrellas wins the Dwell Vision Award A team of workers assembled the dome next to the Grand River over a series of days in late August. It was then lifted into the river by a crane and is secured in the water with ropes. ArtPrize 10 concludes October 7, 2018. + SLO Architecture Via ArchDaily Images via Scott Rasmussen / SLO Architecture; lead image via TJ Mattieu / SLO Architecture

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A dome made of rearview mirrors, seat belts and soda bottles floats on Grand River

Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

September 14, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based architecture studio SuperLimão and architect Gabriela Coelho recently completed GSC, a massive multi-use collector’s gallery built from shipping containers and other metal materials. Located in a lush area of São Paulo, the spacious complex also contains an office, a gym, a small workshop, a kennel and additional gallery space for the client’s other prized items. The industrial character of the cargotecture project was softened with the addition of turf and potted plants, while passive solar techniques were employed to maximize energy efficiency. Covering an area of nearly 19,400 square feet, the GSC is a multilevel project that houses the garage on the ground floor and uses a series of reused shipping containers stacked on top to form the upper level. Rather than place all the containers side by side in a row, the architects strategically arranged the 10 containers to promote natural ventilation, lighting and sight lines between the different areas. The interstitial spaces between containers were converted into green space with seating and timber decking. The roofs of the containers were also landscaped with rows and rows of potted plants. “One characteristic that differentiates our project from the usual container projects that we are used to seeing is that this particular project is totally adapted to our climate while utilizing the maximum passive techniques of form to maximize energy efficiency and take advantage of reusable materials from the container itself,” the architects explained. “All of the spaces have windows on three different levels. They not only allow for ventilation , but they also perform at an optimal level on days without wind. The exterior walls are finished in a ceramic paint and work in conjunction with the roof covered in foliage to thermally regulate the internal environment thus reducing the use of air-conditioning equipment.” Air conditioning is only used during the hottest parts of summer. Related: 13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island The interiors of the containers were renovated to house a variety of rooms, yet the look of the original walls and doors was preserved to reference the building material’s history. Full-height glazing creates a sense of permeability that continues throughout the structure. Outside, rainwater is collected in a large cistern and reused. + SuperLimão Via ArchDaily Images by Maíra Acayaba

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