This new green-roofed hotel with mirrored walls blends into Uruguay’s mountains

April 18, 2018 by  
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Visitors to Uruguay’s Maldonado region can soon stay in a stunning new hotel, which is tucked into 250 acres of gorgeous natural landscape. The Sacromonte Landscape Hotel  — designed by local firm MAPA Architects — is a green-roofed mountain retreat that uses mirrored exteriors to strategically blend into its surroundings. The sustainable hotel complex, which is comprised of 13 individual cabins, a winery and a farm-to-table restaurant, was completely prefabricated off site to reduce the project’s footprint. MAPA Architects utilized a variety of strategies to enable the Sacromonte Landscape Hotel to blend into the environment. The buildings’ sizes and height were kept subtle as to not disrupt the amazing landscape. The cabins have a mirrored facade on one side that camouflages the buildings into the grassy meadows. The rear side of the cabins feature locally-sourced timber trunks and local stones, creating a rustic look. Related: This modern hiking hotel blends into the dark alpine forests of Italy To keep the project’s footprint at a minimum, the structures were prefabricated off site in 10 weeks in a factory in Montevideo. In fact, the overall design focused on implementing various sustainable construction techniques. In addition to using prefab manufacturing, the structures were built with low-E glass and built on bases made from locally-sourced stone. Eco-friendly wastewater treatment systems were also installed to make the project as green as possible. The eco-resort  just recently opened for business and is expected to be fully operational by September, 2018. Visitors will be able to reserve individual cabins, which come with private decks and circular pools for enjoying the spectacular views. Inside, guests can enjoy the modern design, including dark stone floors and oak-paneled walls. For dining, the hotel restaurant offers dishes made with vegetables and fruits grown onsite in an organic garden. And of course, wine tastings are offered daily. + MAPA Architects + Sacromonte Landscape Hotel Via Dwell Photography by Leonardo Finotti

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This new green-roofed hotel with mirrored walls blends into Uruguay’s mountains

This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

April 17, 2018 by  
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Vietnamese firm H&P Architects has created a unique “cave” fit for human habitation. Their “Brick Cave” townhouse has three levels of brick walls, each one with apertures that create a playful atmosphere of light and shadow throughout the interior. Pockets of greenery accent the brick construction throughout the house, and a vegetable garden on the roof caps off the structure. Built on a corner lot in ?ông Anh, Vietnam, the home is nestled on the street and blends into the urban landscape. The architects chose to use brick in the construction to create not just a unique home design, but one with an ecological shade system. The multiple walls both filter natural light into the home and shade the interior from the region’s searing summer heat. Related: H&P Architects’ Bamboo Homes Float Above Rising Flood Waters on Recycled Oil Drums The idiosyncratic design is a labyrinth of walkways, stairs and angles illuminated by streams of natural light. In fact, to use the sun to the home’s advantages, the architects conducted a number of studies on the sun’s daily positions in relation to the house. Although the apertures may appear a bit random at first sight, they were strategically implemented to keep the home cool in the summer heat while providing as much natural light as possible. According to H&P Architects , the unconventional combination of bricks and greenery was essential to connect the home to its surroundings: “Brick Cave encompasses a chain of space…with random apertures gradually shifting from openness/publicity to closeness/privacy and vice versa. The combination of ‘close’ and ‘open’ creates diverse relations with the surroundings and thus helps blur the boundaries between in and out, houses and streets/alleys, human and nature.” In addition to having various openings, the walls are slanted inwards. This represents another conscious choice on the part of the architects–the slanted walls provide better viewing angles of the surrounding area and add a sense of nature to the design, letting in elements such as rain and wind. Harsh elements are commonly to blame for house flooding in this region, so the architects wanted a resilient design that would aid in protecting the home by letting the elements pass through it rather than crash into it, essentially creating a safe shelter. + H&P Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Nguyen Tien Thanh

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This stunning brick "cave house" in Vietnam is open to the elements

$300M live-work campus gets green light to replace former juvenile jail in NYC

March 29, 2018 by  
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Green spaces, affordable housing , and over 300 jobs are coming to the south Bronx. The Peninsula, a mixed-use development designed by WXY architecture + urban design and Body Lawson Associates , just received the City Council go-ahead. Located in the Hunts Points peninsula, the $300 million initiative will transform the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center into a greenery-filled live-work campus spread out across five acres. First unveiled in 2016, The Peninsula aims to transform the neighborhood with a projected 740 units of 100% affordable housing, 52,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, and over 300 permanent new jobs. “It’s a big day for justice in the Bronx . As we move to build more than 700 affordable homes, open space and small businesses in Hunts Point on the site of the old Spofford facility, we are seeing a community rising and the righting of old wrongs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. Related: Former juvenile justice center to become a greenery-filled affordable housing complex in the Bronx As a mixed-use destination, The Peninsula will also offer 15,000 square feet of commercial space, 50,000 square feet of light industrial space, and 53,500 square feet of community facility space, a quarter of which will be dedicated artist workspaces. Anchored by local businesses, the five-acre campus will comprise five buildings featuring solar panels and green roofs as indicated by renderings. The Peninsula will be constructed in three phases with phase I expected for completion in 2021, phase II to be completed in 2022, and overall completion slated for 2024. + WXY architecture + urban design + Body Lawson Associates Images via WXY architecture + urban design and Body Lawson Associates

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$300M live-work campus gets green light to replace former juvenile jail in NYC

Foster+Partners unveil design for first-ever Vatican Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

March 29, 2018 by  
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For the first time ever, Vatican City will be represented at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Curated by Francesco Dal Co, the Pavilions of the Holy See will comprise 10 temporary chapels each designed by a different architect. Foster + Partners , chosen to design a chapel on the Venetian island of San Giorgio Maggiore, just unveiled their chapel design set in a quiet wooded space. Created in collaboration with Italian furniture manufacturer Tecno, Foster+Partners’ Vatican City pavilion was largely informed by the landscape. The architects started the design process with a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore and the site selection of a quiet green space framed by mature trees close to Palladio’s magnificent church and the Teatro Verde. “It was like a small oasis in the big garden, perfect for contemplation,” said Norman Foster. “Our aim is to create a small sanctuary space diffused with dappled shade and removed from the normality of passers-by, focussed instead on the water and sky beyond.” Related: Vatican City Crowned the ‘Greenest State In the World’ Timber was chosen as the temporary chapel’s primary material. Three large crosses provide the supporting beams for the pavilion, which will take visitors down an angled timber walkway that culminates with lagoon views and seating. Porous timber latticework covers the pavilion’s sides and to obscure views and create a dynamic play of light and shadow. The pavilion’s opening ceremony will be held on May 25 and will remain open to the public between May 26 and November 25, 2018. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , sketches by Norman Foster

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Foster+Partners unveil design for first-ever Vatican Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station

September 14, 2017 by  
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As more people purchase electric vehicles (EVs) – and countries move to ban sales of gas-guzzling cars – the world will need more charging stations . German company Sortimo plans to build what’s been described as the world’s biggest EV fast-charging station – with 144 charging ports. It is slated for construction near the A8 highway in Germany . 4,000 cars a day could be charged at Innovationspark Zusmarshausen, Germany’s upcoming charging station, according to the company. 24 of the 144 charging ports could be supra-superchargers with charging capacities of 350 kilowatts (kW), which beats out the Tesla Supercharger with its capacity of around 150 kW. According to Sortimo, Innovationspark Zusmarshausen could offer savings of 29.5 million liters, or around 7.8 million gallons, of fuel , and could save nearly 60,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year. Related: This electric car charging tower can power up a dozen EVs at the same time Innovationspark Zusmarshausen goes beyond the typical vision of a gas station. According to FAZ, the station could also feature offices, shopping, and eateries; Sortimo said people could order food before they arrive so they could eat while their car charges. Commuters might be able to park and charge their vehicles simultaneously in DC parking, perhaps even while working in the offices onsite. Images of the planned station suggest it could be topped with green roofs , and Sortimo mentions in their press release that Innovationspark Zusmarshausen “is very close to nature and architecturally aware of the environment,” so they envision people resting in a park at the charging station as well. As you may have guessed, renewable energy is part of the plan for the massive charging station. Sortimo said solar power can be stored at the station and used during peak times “in a network of surrounding companies and private households.” The charging stations are also integrated into Innovationspark Zusmarshausen’s thermal station management, according to Sortimo, so waste heat can help supply the buildings. FAZ said engineering firm Steinbacher Consult is also behind the design, technology, and operation. A translated version of the German press release suggests the charging station, which is receiving support from the Ministry of Transport, will be constructed in 2018. Via Sortimo , FAZ , and CleanTechnica Images via Sortimo

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Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station

Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

September 14, 2017 by  
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Australia’s first carbon positive and zero waste home to achieve a “10 Star” energy rating has popped up in Cape Paterson, Victoria. Designed in collaboration with Clare Cousin Architects , this impressive dwelling is one of the latest projects produced by The Sociable Weaver , an innovative design and build company that creates affordable, beautiful, and sustainable architect-designed homes for the masses. The coastal home, called the ’10 Star Home’ after its energy rating, is naturally heated and cooled thanks to passive solar strategies and maintains comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, even in mid-winter. Built in the green coastal development The Cape, the 10 Star Home is permanently open to the public as a display home to educate architects, builders, and students on sustainable architecture . The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousin Architects considered all aspects of the home, from the building materials to the bedsheets, to achieve their stringent requirements for sustainability, affordability, and social responsibility. The architects even worked with suppliers to reduce packaging delivered to the construction site, and recycled and reused material wherever possible, such as composting plasterboard off-cuts in the garden. A five-kilowatt rooftop solar panel powers the home, which experiences minimal energy loss thanks to superior under-slab insulation, industrial concrete floors that improve thermal mass, and double-glazed windows. The hardwood used is FSC-certified . Non-toxic materials line the interiors, from natural sealants and paints for the floors, walls, and ceilings, to organic and sustainable furnishings like the organic cotton bedding. The display home is fully furnished and decorated with hand-selected products that are stylish and beautiful, yet meet high environmental standards. Related: A Tiny Timber Box in a Tiny Urban Flat Makes Room for a Couple’s First Child In addition to environmentally conscious building practices, the 10 Star Home is designed to inspire a more sustainable lifestyle. The architects followed Building Biology principles to create an edible garden where occupants are encouraged to compost and grow their own food. To keep the home healthy and non-toxic, the 10 Star Home is also equipped with a “green switch” that turns off all power to the home, except for the fridge, so that occupants can reduce the impact of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) at night. “Through Life Cycle Analysis by eTool, modelling shows that over the lifetime of the home, the 10 Star Home will not only negate its carbon footprint but will positively exceed it,” said The Sociable Weaver, according to Dezeen . “This equates to 203 kilograms of carbon emissions saved per year per occupant, equivalent to planting 9.55 million trees or removing 48 million balloons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” + The Sociable Weaver + Clare Cousin Architects Via Dezeen Images via The Sociable Weaver

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Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

Montreal supermarket is Canada’s first to grow produce on its own rooftop garden

July 21, 2017 by  
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When the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent began pushing for green roofs , a supermarket wondered if it could do regulations one better. Fast-forward a few years and IGA Extra Famille Duchemin now claims to be the first grocery store in Canada to sell produce grown on its own roof. High above its LEED Gold-certified retail space, IGA’s 25,000-foot garden features more than 30 different varieties of certified-organic produce, including tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, kale, eggplant, and basil. Speaking to the Ottawa Citizen , co-owner Richard Duchemin said he decided to perceive Saint-Laurent’s requirement not as a burden but an opportunity. Related: New York City unveils massive green-roofed film and fashion hub in Brooklyn Not only does a green roof help regulate the temperature of the building below it, saving energy, but it also feeds into consumer demand for food with a smaller carbon footprint. “People are very interested in buying local,” he said. “There’s nothing more local than this.” The garden, which is irrigated using water reclaimed from the store’s dehumidification system, has also become a mini-Eden for birds, bees, and other embattled urban fauna. Duchemin compares IGA’s produce-laden roof to those “little boxes where [supermarkets] grow herbs,” but on a grander scale. “We pushed it further because we know we’re able to sell what we produce here,” he added. Related: Green roofs cool co-working shipping container office in Brazil If proven successful, GA Extra Famille Duchemin could even kick-start a trend across Canada. Pierre St-Laurent, executive vice-president for Quebec at Sobeys , which owns the IGA chain, is said to be following the store’s progress with great interest. Photos via Facebook Via Ottawa Citizen

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Montreal supermarket is Canada’s first to grow produce on its own rooftop garden

Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials

July 21, 2017 by  
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Architecture studio tenfiftyfive paired modern luxury with sustainable and nature-centric design in their design of this gorgeous house extension in Melbourne. Named the Park House, this Instagram-worthy dwelling is built around two mature gumtrees and clad in timber to blend into the surroundings. More than just a pretty picture, this stylish abode also boasts energy-efficient principles as well as a natural-materials palette largely foraged from recycled and salvaged items. Completed as an extension to an old heritage house, the Park House sports a sleek modern facade with simple, clean lines and a strong attention to detail. The boxy, top-heavy structure features a cantilevered first floor punctuated by protruding black steel windows that contrast beautifully with the timber facade. Full-height glazing wraps around the ground floor to let in an abundance of natural light and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Fencing along the lot provides privacy. Related: Breezy addition keeps cool in Melbourne’s summers with smart passive design A large open-plan living room with a kitchen and dining area dominates the ground floor, while bedrooms are placed in the more closed-off upper floor. The use of timber is continued inside the home, where it can be seen in an exposed recycled wood ceiling in the living space as well as in the furnishings, stairway, and feature wall support built from old Oregon rafter. Some of the red brick used on the kitchen wall was recycled from garden paving and is complemented by a Statuario marble countertop. A green wall above the windows in the dining area adds a splash of nature indoors. Concrete floors with in-built hydronic heating provide thermal comfort as well as a noise barrier between floors. + tenfiftyfive Via Architecture and Design Images via tenfiftyfive

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Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials

Barcelona set to double tree population in major urban greening push

May 18, 2017 by  
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You may think there isn’t much space for a centuries-old, built-out city like Barcelona to radically greenify itself with double the amount of trees and expanded green space. But that’s exactly what the city aims to do. They recently rolled out a Plan of the Green and Biodiversity Barcelona 2020 , including ambitious goals that could offer ideas to other dense cities needing greenery too. Air pollution , heat, and climate change are among the reasons Barcelona needs to become a greener city. But they have a plan – their 2020 goals could see twice the number of trees flourishing in the city, alongside park space increased by two thirds. Overall each citizen could receive nearly 11 square feet of extra green spaces . The plan aims to provide Barcelona with 108 acres of new green areas by 2019 and more than 400 acres by 2020. Related: Paris allows anyone to plant an urban garden How will the city accomplish this feat? First, they’ll plant five new gardens , which will later be connected to open spaces already in place to form thriving plant-filled corridors. Green roofs will also help keep the city cool. Creepers will snake across bare walls. And in spaces waiting for construction, the city will plant temporary gardens. CityLab reports some of the new gardens are already being built, and their designs reveal how to find space in a city where one might think space would be lacking. For example, the largest garden will be planted around a city square once filled with cars. That traffic will now be diverted to tunnels. Another garden is more controversial – the city will clear out a courtyard block filled with squatted 1920’s workshops to make way for greenery. One garden will green up a scrap of ex-industrial semi-wasteland. Slowly the city is filling up with new flora and fauna – local architecture firm JORNETLLOPPASTOR drew up many of these images around five years ago. Green corridors planted in the past have been successful; a 2000 one restored life to a stream formerly dirty. As climate change raises temperatures, a city that already reaches around 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer stands to benefit greatly from the air-cleaning, cooling plants. Via CityLab Images via Ajuntament de Barcelona

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Libeskind unveils zero-emissions university building designed in collaboration with students

March 14, 2017 by  
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A new building with exciting geometry and eco-friendly design is inspiring students at Leuphana University at Lüneburg, Germany. Architect Daniel Libeskind recently completed the New Central Building, a landmark university structure designed in collaboration with the students as part of the tradition at Leuphana University to involve students in campus changes. Topped with a green roof and powered by renewable energy, the light-filled sculptural building will operate at zero emissions . Created in the same gleaming and angular aesthetic common to Libeskind’s designs, the 13,000-square-meter zinc-clad New Central Building serves as a major university hub that promotes cross-disciplinary interaction and learning for students and faculty. The massive structure comprises four interlocking sculptural forms, each housing four programs: the Student Center that spans the height of the building; the three-story Seminar Center; the 1,100-seat Libeskind Auditorium; and the seven-story Research Center. Students contributed to the design process in seminars held by Professor Libeskind and other teachers at the university. Student participation spanned a wide spectrum, from the building and landscape design to the way-finding systems and interior design . “The idea for this project was to create a hub that would inspire the students through multiple connected spaces, infused with natural light and exciting new geometries,” said architect Daniel Libeskind. “It was a true creative collaboration by incorporating students ideas about program and design elements into the final design.” Related: Daniel Libeskind unveils spectacularly green physics center at Durham University In addition to aesthetics and a community-oriented design, the new student hub focuses heavily on sustainability. The energy-efficient New Central Building is powered by renewable energy and includes green roofs that can be seen from the interior, a gray water system , and an innovative structural Cobiax system. The zero-emissions building exceeds the EnEV (Energieeinsparverordnung = Energy-Saving Regulation), a standard that sets energy requirements for new buildings in Germany and also serves as a demonstration project of the Bundeswirtschaftsministerium (Federal Ministry of Economy) for energy-optimized design. + Daniel Libeskind Images via TK

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Libeskind unveils zero-emissions university building designed in collaboration with students

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