Nations largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability

May 23, 2017 by  
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The first and largest cross-laminated timber (CLT) academic building in the U.S. has opened at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst. Designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates , the multidisciplinary Design Building brings together 500 students and 50 faculty across four departments into a light-filled 87,000-square-foot space. As a beacon of sustainability, the building features energy-saving elements, such as chilled beams and radiant flooring, and targets LEED Gold certification. Cross-laminated timber has long been praised for its durability, lightness, and speed of construction, however, has been slow to catch on in the U.S. relative to Europe and Canada. As the largest installation of wood-concrete composites in North America, the UMass Design Building paves the way in a growing trend of “mass timber” buildings. Cast-in-place concrete and CLT make up the Design Building’s floor slabs, while glue-laminated timber was used for the posts, beams, shear wall cores, and “zipper” trusses. To reference the colors and patterns of the nearby forests, the four-story building is wrapped in a durable envelope of copper-colored anodized aluminum panels punctuated with vertical windows. The glazing and skylights maximize daylight to the interior to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. Stormwater is managed onsite with bioswales and timber dams that filter and redirect runoff back to the Connecticut River. Related: Taiwan’s first CLT building paves way to greener alternatives to concrete and steel “To create a center space of collaboration, a coiling and rising band of studios, faculty offices and classrooms surrounds a skylit Commons for gathering and presentations,” write the architects. “The building also forms a green roof terrace, a contemplative space shared by the studios and faculty and a potential experimental space for the landscape department. The slope of the site creates a tall four-story façade on the west facing the mall, and the rising structure invites the community into the building and reveals the activities within.” + Leers Weinzapfel Associates Via Dezeen Images via Leers Weinzapfel Associates

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Nations largest cross-laminated timber academic building is an icon of sustainability

Buried Buddhist shrine unites man and nature in harmony

May 11, 2017 by  
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You don’t need to be a Zen master to appreciate this green-roofed Buddhist shrine in rural China. Designed by Arch Studio , the contemporary shrine is partially buried to minimize site disruption and to blend into the landscape. The building emphasizes connection with nature through its design and framed views of the woods and river beyond. Located in the outskirts of Tangshan by the riverbank, the Buddhist shrine serves as a space for meditation and contemplation. The concrete building is mostly buried underground and is embedded between seven mature trees. The shrine’s various rooms splay out like branches from a large central space and include the entrance, meditation room, tea room , living room, and bathroom. “The design started from the connection between the building and nature and adopts the method of earthing to hide the building under the earth mound while presenting the divine temperament of nature with flowing interior space,” said Arch Studio. “A place with power of perception where trees, water, Buddha and human coexist is thus created.” Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure The concrete surfaces are textured with the natural grain patterns from the pine formwork. Furnishings are constructed from gray-toned timber to match the concrete walls while the smooth terrazzo interior flooring contrasts with the outdoor white gravel. Skylights and large windows let in natural light and framed views. Courtyards with trees and bamboo punctuate the building. + Arch Studio Via Dezeen

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Buried Buddhist shrine unites man and nature in harmony

Modern Mount Qiyun treehouse immerses guests in nature

May 11, 2017 by  
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A romantic weekend escape awaits lucky couples on China’s Mount Qiyun. Cambridge graduates Andong Lu and Pingping Dou of lanD studio designed Treehouse M, a prefabricated timber structure perched high in the tree canopy with sweeping panoramic views. The contemporary design and luxurious feel elevates the structure into a kind of glamping in the treetops. Prefabricated offsite with timber and steel elements, Treehouse M was assembled within a short time with minimal site impact and waste. The designers carefully sited the treehouse to immerse guests in nature at the forest resort. Panoramic views can be enjoyed from the room without compromising privacy. Related: This playful Airbnb treehouse near San Francisco lets you sleep in a 150-year-old oak tree The treehouse derives its name from its inverted roof that gives the building its M shape. Ample glazing blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living. The simple 40-square-meter interior houses a large bed, dresser, bathroom, and lounge chair. A bathtub is located on the semi-covered outdoor terrace . + lanD studio Via IGNANT Images © Bowen Hou

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Modern Mount Qiyun treehouse immerses guests in nature

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will bring a massive 11-acre green roof to Los Angeles

May 10, 2017 by  
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Much like the beloved Star Wars movies, the design process for the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is turning out to be quite the saga. The museum is at long last set to be built in L.A.’s Exposition Park, and MAD Architects just unveiled updated plans for the futuristic building – including a massive 11-acre green roof! According to Urbanize LA , the design for the $1 billion project will soon be presented to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission for approval. The latest renderings by the architecture firm, led by Ma Yansong, depict a few changes from the initial designs unveiled last year. The most notable differences are the massive green roof and the elongated sinewy shape of the 300,000 square feet complex. Related: George Lucas selects Los Angeles to host $1 billion art museum The museum will hold two theaters, archives, offices, classrooms, and a library spread over two wings, but the bulk of the exhibition space will be housed on the fourth floor, where the two wings connect. Additional exhibition space and a restaurant will be located on the top floor. A large underground parking garage with capacity for 2,400 cars adjacent to the museum will be hidden under 11 acres of expansive green space . According to the project description, the Lucas Museum will house one-of-a kind collections divided into three categories: narrative art, the art of cinema, and digital art. Visitors will be able to enjoy a variety of art genres from fine art and modern art, illustrations and comics. Of course, there will also be a large collection of props and storyboards from Lucas’ long career in the film industry. + Lucas Museum + MAD Architects Via Archinect Images via LADCP

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The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will bring a massive 11-acre green roof to Los Angeles

Henning Larsen Architects unveils zero energy-targeted civic center for Toronto

May 10, 2017 by  
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Henning Larsen Architects has won a competition for Toronto’s new 500,000-square-foot Etobicoke Civic Centre. Designed in collaboration with Adamson Associates Architects and PMA Landscape Architects , the winning proposal will have a focus on sustainability and feature municipal offices, public gathering spaces, a library branch, recreation center, and a child care center. Build Toronto and the City of Toronto hosted the design competition and evaluated proposals on their environmental sustainability, flexibility, community identity, and pedestrian scale. The competition jury commended the winning team’s proposal for its “flexibility and an iconic design well suited for the community.” The winning design also demonstrates an ability to achieve a net zero target and builds on the context and history of the Etobicoke community. Related: Designers float plan to cover Toronto’s CN Tower with clip-on condos The proposed Etobicoke Civic Centre will break down the development’s large scale using different sized building volumes that help preserve a comfortable pedestrian-friendly scale. Site analysis and local thermal studies also informed building placement to protect against the summer solar heat gain and winter winds. Comfortable microclimates are improved further with green roofs and landscaping, and the total effect will prolong the comfortable outdoor season by up to five weeks, said Henning Larsen Architects. Via ArchDaily Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Henning Larsen Architects unveils zero energy-targeted civic center for Toronto

The Obamas just revealed a first look at the new Presidential Center in Chicago

May 3, 2017 by  
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Former president and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama just revealed plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. The park-like campus will feature three buildings including a museum, a forum and a library. The highlight of the design is the museum, which is clad in light-colored stone and stands as a sort of “lantern” for the campus. Designers are focusing on merging the best of the outdoors with the best of the indoors by including plenty of green spaces, green roofs , and public gardens. The campus, located in the neighborhood Jackson Park, will host exhibition space, education rooms, a restaurant, public gardens, and the Presidential library, which will house documents, photos and artifacts from Obama’s time in office. Related: Obama’s presidential library will be set in Chicago’s Jackson Park Pathways will criss-cross the campus, allowing visitors to walk from green spaces on the ground level to the green roofs of the two lower buildings. An outdoor plaza will connect everything together. The design was created by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and will cost approximately $500 million to construct. Once completed, the buildings will comprise 200 – 225,000 square feet. Via The Chicago Tribune images via The Obama Foundation

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The Obamas just revealed a first look at the new Presidential Center in Chicago

Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

May 3, 2017 by  
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Cadillac is pushing a new green car strategy they hope will make a bigger impact than their ELR plug-in hybrid – a low-performing vehicle in terms of sales success. Rather than produce a standalone plug-in hybrid , like the ELR, Cadillac will release plug-in hybrid versions of its regular lineup, starting with the new 2017 CT6 Plug-in Hybrid. The 2017 CT6 plug-in hybrid is just now reaching showrooms, giving Cadillac a rival to other luxury sedan plug-ins, like the Mercedes-Benz S 550e, BMW 740e and Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can travel up to 31 miles in electric mode, which is better than the embarrassing 12 mile EV range that the S550e manages to squeeze out of its battery. If you open the hood, you won’t see a V6 or large V8 engine, like many Cadillac loyalists are used to. Instead, the CT6 plug-in hybrid is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and two-motor electric variable transmission. A large lithium-ion battery powers the electric part of the system from behind the backseat and takes up to 4.5 hours to fully recharge on a 240-volt outlet. Related: Honda steps up with new green car strategy In total, the system generates 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft. of torque, which puts it directly in the middle of the CT6 lineup, with only the twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 beating it. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and has a 62 combined MPGe rating. Plus the 31-mile driving range is longer than almost every other plug-in hybrid on the market, with the exception of the Chevy Volt and BMW i3, but neither of those models are as luxurious or comfortable. On the road the CT6 tries to find the perfect balance between performance and efficiency. You can select between three driving modes: Tour, Sport and Hold. Tour is the standard setting, but if you want a more exciting driving experience, there’s the Sport mode with its more aggressive pedal mapping and steering response. The Hold mode allows the driver to save the EV range for later use, maybe in a city center, for example. There are also four selectable battery regen modes to recuperate as much energy as you want. The strongest setting almost allows for one pedal driving, which is something that makes the i3 so great to drive in traffic. What’s it like to drive the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid? Driving around Los Angeles in the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid, it’s easy to forget you’re driving an electrified Cadillac. The instantaneous torque makes acceleration a breeze and the 31-mile EV range is enough for short errands around town. With a 0-60 mph time of only 5.2 seconds, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid can speed past many sports cars. Although it is fast, it’s still not a true sports sedan. If you’re looking for a sportier driving experience, you’ll probably want to check out the Panamera instead, but if you’re in the market for a large, luxurious sedan, without the fuel economy penalty, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid is hard to beat. Pricing for the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-in hybrid starts at $75,095. It only comes in one trim with standard features like, a head-up display, panoramic sunroof, rear seat infotainment system and the Enhanced Vision package. Images @Inhabitat and Cadillac + Cadillac

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Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

C.F. Mller unveils eco-conscious highrise in Sweden

May 2, 2017 by  
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International design firm C.F. Møller won an architecture competition with their proposal for an eco-conscious high-rise in the central Swedish city of Västerås. Topped with solar panels and a green roof , the energy-efficient skyscraper will be a beautiful landmark and model of hybrid design with its proposed timber and concrete structure. Greenery is woven throughout the design, from the panoramic garden on the 15th floor to the trees planted on every balcony. The 15,700-square-meter mixed-use tower was designed for an architecture competition launched by property management company Riksbyggen in January 2017. The winning design features an elliptical shape with 22 floors; concrete will be used for supporting construction up to the 15th floor, while the remaining seven floors will be framed in solid wood. Untreated wood , protected from the elements by balconies, clads the rounded facade. “The architecture and details of the facades are inspired by the light reflections on Lake Mälaren,” says Ola Jonsson, Architect and associate partner at C.F. Møller. “The result is a three-dimensional and dynamic facade composition that is exciting both near and from afar. The panoramic garden placed high up in the building is a focal point for the city and a fantastic common area for the residents of the house. Our ambition has been to optimize the synergies between the city, building and urban greenery.” Related: C.F. Møller is building a garden-filled vertical village in Antwerp The building’s ground floor will be open for restaurants and commercial use, while residences occupy the upper floors. A vertical green wall faces a public square and is complemented with small parks with active and passive spaces. A garden on the 15th floor offers additional green space to residents as well as 360-degree panoramic views of the city. Green roofs top the parking building and the tower. + C.F. Møller Images via C.F. Møller

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C.F. Mller unveils eco-conscious highrise in Sweden

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

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