Students collaborate with starchitect Daniel Libeskind to design university building

March 28, 2017 by  
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Dramatic interlocking volumes and sharp angles define the new green-roofed Central Building at Leuphana University in Germany. Studio Libeskind designed the project in collaboration with students at the university, where Libeskind works as a part-time professor. The result is a distinct zinc-clad building that will serve as an incubator for new ideas, innovation and research. The 139,930-square-foot building, located on the university’s main campus in the southern part of Lüneburg, integrates a Research Center, a Student Center, spaces for seminars and an auditorium into a single structure. Interlocking volumes facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction and collaborative learning. Related: Daniel Libeskind unveils spectacularly green physics center at Durham University Upon entering the building, visitors are greeted by a swooping triple-height atrium awash in natural light coming through a half dozen skylights . Stairs and bridges puncture the volume and communicate the complexity of the space. The cafeteria and workshops are located on the ground floor, labs and offices occupy the upper floors, and the three-story Seminar Center with a curved roof forms the main entry. Exposed concrete and canted walls are combined with smoked oak parquet throughout the building, and red-painted walls provide way-finding and orientation. Related: Daniel Libeskind unveils design for the new green-roofed Lithuanian Modern Art Center in Vilnius The building will operate at zero emissions thanks to its remarkably efficient design and the use of renewable energy sources. Sustainable design features include a green roof, a grey water system and an innovative Cobiax structural system. + Studio Libeskind + Leuphana University

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Students collaborate with starchitect Daniel Libeskind to design university building

Green-roofed house for a pilot looks like a temporarily grounded aircraft

February 27, 2017 by  
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This unique home for a young pilot and his family in South Korea looks like an aircraft that has been grounded. Appropriately called the Flying House, it was designed by IROJE KHM Architects , who drew inspiration from traditional Korean architecture to create a delicate balance between sky and land. The architects combined the elements of yard, garden and rumaru, a traditional courtyard with a canopy , to create a space which connects the ground to the roof surface. The resulting sloped roof garden allows the house to coexist with nature, with a flowing design that establishes a strong connection to the ground. Related: IROJE KHM’s green-roofed house in Seoul blooms like a flower A limited budget influenced the choice of materials. By leaving the concrete framework surfaces exposed, the architects managed to utilize the structural material as the finishing material and lower the total construction cost of the building. + IROJE KHM Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Sergio Pirrone

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Green-roofed house for a pilot looks like a temporarily grounded aircraft

Couple builds dream solar-powered home on an awkward lot in Rotterdam

February 23, 2017 by  
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When it came time for Dutch architects Gwendolyn Huisman and Marijn Boterman to build their dream home, they chose an extremely narrow plot of land in the city of Rotterdam. The plot presented a few challenges, which the pair overcame with a minimalist 12-foot-wide design that comes with its own rooftop garden and indoor hammock. If you need some inspiration, take a closer look at their SkinnySCAR house after the jump. The plot of land had been vacant for decades due to its small size. However, the couple was determined to efficiently convert the skinny space into a fully livable home. They clad the three-story strucure in a sophisticated black brick with two extra large windows, adding a strong character to the previously empty lot. Related: Super skinny 4-meter-wide home is squeezed between buildings in Tokyo https://vimeo.com/203146648 Of course, working with such a narrow space created a number of challenges on the interior. To create a sense of openness, the architects took advantage of the tall, skinny space by building three stories, all with incredibly high ceilings. Multiple large windows offer optimal natural light , and exposed concrete and white walls enhance the minimalist interior design. The entranceway to the 1,506-square-foot space opens up into the kitchen and dining area in the back of the home, which leads out into a shared garden space. The second floor houses a small library and reading lounge that includes a reading hammock that looks out over the interior garden space. Two small bedrooms and a unique bathroom with an open shower and aquatic green accents are housed on the third floor. For private outdoor space, the architects put a quaint little herb garden on their rooftop, which shares space with the home’s solar array . + SkinnySCAR House + JagerJanssen Via New Atlas Images via SkinnySCAR House

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Couple builds dream solar-powered home on an awkward lot in Rotterdam

New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties

February 23, 2017 by  
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Email already hobbled one politician; could it prove to be the downfall of another? The writing might be on the wall for Scott Pruitt , longtime foe of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , as well as its newest administrator. While serving as attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt regularly colluded with oil and gas producers and electric utilities with ties to billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch to oppose federal environmental regulations, according to 7,500-plus pages of email that were made public on Wednesday. “The newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners and other events,” said Nick Surgey, research director at the Center for Media and Democracy , which sued to obtain the documents. Indeed, the correspondence portrays a rapport that isn’t just amicable, but downright cozy. Devon Energy , an oil and gas exploration firm based in Oklahoma City, for instance, drafted—and redrafted—letters for Pruitt to sign and send to federal officials in opposition of regulations designed to limit greenhouse-gas emissions and ozone pollution. “Attached is a potential first-cut draft of a letter a (bipartisan if possible?) group of AGs might send to the acting EPA administrator and some others in the Administration in response to the NE states’ notice of intent to sue for more E&P emission regulation,” William Whitsitt, executive vice president for public affairs at Devon, wrote in 2013. Related: Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of Months later, Clayton Eubanks, a deputy solicitor general, asked Whitsitt for advice on a draft the letter was preparing to send to the EPA regarding proposed regulations of methane emissions. “I would like to get the letter out in the morning,” Eubanks wrote. “Any suggestions?” Whitsitt was quick to respond. “Here you go. Please note that you could use just the red changes, or both red and blue (the latter being some further improvements from one of our experts) or none,” he wrote back. Hope this helps.” “I sent the letter today,” Eubanks emailed the next day. “Thanks for all your help on this.” Communications reveal a similar fraternity between his office and Koch Brothers-funded conservative political groups such as Americans for Prosperity , which emailed the offices of Pruitt and an Oklahoma congressman thanking them for helping “push back against President Obama’s EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states.” The emails’ release comes just days after Pruitt was promoted from EPA critic to EPA overseer. The road to his appointment was a rocky one, to say the least. Senate Democrats, environmental groups, and former and current members of the EPA staff launched a vociferous campaign against Pruitt, even calling for a delay on his confirmation vote until after the emails were made public. It was mostly for naught, however. Susan Collins from Maine was the sole Republican who voted against him, and Pruitt was confirmed by a 52-to-46 vote on Friday. Making his first speech at EPA headquarters in Washington on Tuesday, Pruitt told employees that he was here to “listen, learn, and lead.” Related: Scott Pruitt attacks critics and EPA employees in first speech Pruitt said the EPA needed to respect states’ roles in enforcing standards, and that “regulations ought to make things regular.” He also insisted that there shouldn’t be a disconnect between environmental protection and energy production. Nor should regulations hamper job creation. “We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment,” Pruitt said. “That we don’t have to choose between the two. I think our nation has done better than any nation in the world at making sure we do the job of protecting our natural resources and protecting our environment while also respecting the economic growth and jobs our nation seeks to have.” Pruitt’s words did little to smooth staffers’ hackles, however. “Pruitt’s talk [was] as bad as expected,” one anonymous employee told Mother Jones . “Not one word about public health. And talking about the rule of law as if we didn’t do everything with the realization that it will end up in court. It was condescending and hypocritical.” + Center for Media and Democracy Photos by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties

Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

February 23, 2017 by  
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Philippe Starck is one of the most influential designers of modern times – and he’s applied his signature style and environmental ethos to develop a striking new residential building in Ecuador . The slender YOO Quito tower, created in collaboration with property entrepreneur John Hitchcox, real estate developer Tommy Schwarzkopf and architecture studio Arquitectónica , is expected to feature several sustainable strategies, including low-impact materials, a volumetric design to mitigate solar exposure, and a number of green terraces to reduce the heat island effect . In 1999, Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox partnered to create YOO , design firm that works with international developers on high-end residential and hospitality projects throughout the world. Their latest endeavor brought together several international firms to design and build four new landmark buildings for Quito . Related: Philippe Starck’s New Wind and Solar-Powered Home Produces 50% More Energy Than it Consumes The YOO Quito building has a slender undulating silhouette with vegetation dominating its base and top floor. For interior spaces, the designers coupled traditional regional design with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Glass, metal, concrete , foliage and a neutral color palette dominate both the interior and exterior of the building. The building’s vegetal covers are designed to “obstruct, filter and reflect solar radiation,” according to Yoo Quito literature, “fighting the heat in [sic] sunny days and maintaining heat in the winter.” They also provide protection against noise. Transparent glass ensures ample natural light, while smart technology throughout further reduces the building’s energy requirement. When complete, YOO Quito is expected to be the tallest building in the city. + Uribe & Schwarzkopf + YOO + Arquitectónica

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Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

Green-roofed Corsica home blends right into its spectacular seaside setting

February 13, 2017 by  
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The green-roofed H2 Cape House by architect Vincent Coste looks like an ideal place to relax and soak up the Mediterranean sun. The sprawling residence blends into the unique seaside setting of Corsica without disturbing the existing vegetation or nearby granite rocks. Merging the interior and exterior into a single, flowing space, the house offers a variety of ambiances. Its expansive single-story design makes way for several outdoor areas, including a central terrace , two swimming pools and access to a private beach and port for boats. Related: Coastal Solar-Powered Villa F Prefab Soaks Up the Sun in Greece https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOhVBFzZZiM The extensive use of glass maximizes views of the surroundings, while red cedar siding adds warmth to the entire building. A large boulder seems to support one of the many cantilevering surfaces and overhangs of the building, contrasting the skinny facade. + Vincent Coste Via Uncrate Photos by Florent Joliot

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Green-roofed Corsica home blends right into its spectacular seaside setting

Smog-fighting music academy proposal uses an air purifier system as effective as 33,000 trees

February 1, 2017 by  
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The Polish city of Krakow has some of the worst air pollution in the world. In hopes of improving the city’s air quality, FAAB Architektura proposed a smog-fighting music academy fitted with a German air purification system that they say works effectively as 33,000 city trees. The music academy was designed as part of a larger “Krakow Music City” masterplan that envisions a largely car-free and environmentally friendly development atop a former military base. Located between Krakow and the Vistula River, the proposed masterplan is designed to blend into the natural landscape with its vernacular wooden lap panel cladding and use of energy-efficient technologies. Around 1,300 square meters of a Green City Solutions -developed air purification product would be embedded in the music academy’s moss-covered rooftops. The special moss culture converts air pollutants into biomass. Related: China’s crazy smog-sucking vacuum tower might actually be working The green-roofed buildings comprise an education wing, concert hall, and small guest building carefully placed around existing trees and designed to immerse students and visitors in nature. Ground heat exchangers would be used to reduce energy use. Rainwater would also be collected in an underground tank and reused wherever possible. FAAB Architektura submitted their proposal to a design competition hosted by Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie , which will reveal the winning entry on March 31, 2017. + FAAB Architektura Via ArchDaily Images via FAAB Architektura

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Smog-fighting music academy proposal uses an air purifier system as effective as 33,000 trees

Estrade Residence adapts to rocky hillside with locally-harvested materials

January 30, 2017 by  
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The gorgeous Estrade Residence adapts to the rocky, steep topography of a lake shore in Quebec , and offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. Canadian design studio MU Architecture design the house using natural and locally sourced materials and created a multitude of spaces and terraces that embrace the site. The main idea was to highlight the peculiarities of the site and integrate nature into the design of the house. This resulted in a staggered structure that includes several terraces that establish a strong dialogue with the surrounding landscape. Thick walls made from rocks extracted during excavation create a spine of the project that extends outwards, protect the apartments on the ground floor, and help establish a direct connection between the interior and exterior spaces. Related: Modern meets rustic in the Hemmingford House built from natural materials The different volumes are gradually revealed as visitors climb an aerial and magisterial staircase which connects all levels of the house. Open spaces dominate the ground floor bathed in natural light, with a double-sided fireplace located in the center of the common room adding warmth to the place. This area extends the kitchen to the outside via a veranda which stretches perpendicularly to the natural ridge. Natural cedar cladding of the upper volumes complements the stone walls and gives the residence both a rustic and modern feel. + MU Architecture Via v2com Photos by Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard (YUL Photo)

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Estrade Residence adapts to rocky hillside with locally-harvested materials

Grass hill hides a magical hobbit teahouse in Slovenia

January 26, 2017 by  
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A magical little teahouse is tucked away in the verdant hills of Slovenia. Created by Danica and Jože Kolari?, this beautiful tiny building was made from natural materials and perfectly complements the organic garden that grows around it. The hobbit house -inspired tearoom is almost entirely hidden from view from above thanks to its turfed roof, while its charming cottage-like interior was crafted using reclaimed materials. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIcphf3dq5g This hobbit house-inspired tearoom was recently spotlighted on a popular TV show called Ambienti , where viewers got a sneak peek at the construction process . First, the hillside was excavated to create space for the foundations of the timber-framed building. A concrete retaining wall was built in the rear. Once the building was complete, growing medium for the vegetation was installed on the roof so that the grass from the hillside would grow overtop the structure and make it appear as if the structure were carved out of the hill. Related: This luxury hobbit home in the UK could be yours for just $1 million The quaint interior is lined in large timber planks and features a wood-burning fireplace built from stone and brick set into the rear concrete wall. Many of the materials were reclaimed from the crumbling ruins of nearby farmhouses, which gives the tearoom its charming antique character. In addition to the teahouse and the organic flower and herb gardens, Danica and Jože Kolari? also have a self-built beehive and garden pavilion. + Ambienti Images by Jasna Marin, screenshots from Ambienti

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Grass hill hides a magical hobbit teahouse in Slovenia

Affordable housing for disabled veterans marries wellness and sustainability in Los Angeles

January 17, 2017 by  
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Great architecture goes beyond building four walls—it’s about empowering individuals and building communities. That philosophy is embodied in the 2017 AIA award-winning project, Six Affordable Veteran Housing. Designed by Brooks + Scarpa , this beautiful LEED Platinum-certified project offers support services, rehab, and affordable housing to disabled veterans in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park, an area with one of the highest population densities in the U.S. Unlike traditional shelter models, Six Affordable Veteran Housing was designed primarily around the concept of community by prioritizing large public areas over private spaces. The 42,500-square-foot complex is the first Skid Row Housing Trust project built outside of downtown Los Angeles and takes inspiration from the military term “I’ve got your six,” a phrase that refers to having someone’s back. “The organization of the space is intended to transform the way people live-away from a reclusive, isolating layout towards a community-oriented, interactive space,” say the architects. The SIX comprises 57 units of high-quality sustainable and affordable housing in a neighborhood that’s highly walkable, particularly to service-industry employers, but is typically out of the price range for disabled veterans. The units are stacked into four levels and each has balconies wrapped with a recycled wood screen overlooking the central courtyard. Every unit features ten-foot-high ceilings and large, strategically placed windows that let in ample natural light and cross ventilation. Related: Seattle teens build mobile tiny homes for local homeless community The project’s energy efficient design also sets the facility apart from most conventionally developed projects. The LEED Platinum -certified SIX was constructed using passive design strategies to optimize building performance, such as orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds and adding windows that maximize day lighting. Concrete floors and walls double as thermal heat sinks, while double-glazed low-E windows minimize heat loss and gain. A large green roof and edible garden top the building and can be seen from below. + Brooks + Scarpa Images by Tara Wujcik

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Affordable housing for disabled veterans marries wellness and sustainability in Los Angeles

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