LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg

August 4, 2017 by  
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A dynamic new icon of sustainable energy is rising in Heidelberg, Germany. Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) just broke ground on a new energy storage tower for Stadtwerke Heidelberg (SWH) that will be the Heidelberg’s tallest building and symbolize the city’s transition towards renewables . Designed to replace an existing gas tank, the new tower will be wrapped in a dynamic multi-layered facade made up of “energy loops” to render renewable energy visible to the public. The 56-meter-tall energy storage center with 19,500-cubic-meter capacity will be accompanied with a 10,000-square-meter park, both of which are slated for completion in mid-2019. Solar and wind energy will be harnessed and used to heat up the water and sold as heat energy. “This ‘knowledge store’ will replace a previous gas tank, a symbol of energy policy in the 1950s,” said Tobias Wallisser, director of LAVA. “Formally and geometrically the new water tank will not be much different from its predecessor. So this raised the challenge for us: How can the parameters of energy regeneration, decentrality, networking, flexibility and adaptivity be made visible in the design of the outer shell? How can an adaptive, dynamic system be produced without extreme technical control? Our task was to transform a big heavy industrial tank into a dynamic object.” Related: Futuristic green city design runs like a real rainforest in Malaysia The renovated tower is made up of a multi-layered facade with a spiral helix staircase that wraps around an insulating inner layer of mineral wool panels painted varying shades of blue. A cable network fitted between the annular supports creates the outer facade. Around 11,000 diamond-shaped stainless steel plates—the same number of households supplied with energy by the network—also clad the structure and can rotate up to 45 degrees horizontally in the wind. At night, the tower’s inner envelope is illuminated by LEDs that glow blue, green, and white that signify the filling up or emptying of the water storage tank. The publicly accessible tower features two elevators and roof-level event spaces, bistro, and viewing terraces. + Laboratory for Visionary Architecture

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LAVA breaks ground on sustainable energy tower in Heidelberg

Raku Inoue crafts delicate insect sculptures from colorful flowers

August 4, 2017 by  
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Even those scared of bugs won’t be able to resist the exquisite beauty of Raku Inoue’s insect sculptures. Crafted from delicate flower petals and leaves, ‘Natura Insects’ is a beautiful series of miniature flower arrangements pieced together to look like stag beetles, butterflies, and other insects. The Montreal-based Japanese artist draws from traditional Japanese arts such as ink painting (“sumi-e”) and flower arrangement (“ikebana”) and gives the art forms a new, modern twist. The Natura Insects series was completed as part of Raku Inoue’s ‘Challenge of the 9,’ in which he creates different art collections—each with nine works—that push his artistic boundaries. In Natura Insects, Inoue created nine insect sculptures out of leaves and flowers. He sets each creation against textured white paper and photographs them with his seal for Instagram . Related: Red Hong Yi Transforms Colorful Flower Petals into Exotic Birds The delicate creations are thoughtful compositions of texture, color, and pattern. The butterfly , for instance, comprises vibrantly colored petals of varying shapes with rounded petals at the center and long, skinny petals at the edges. In contrast, the less colorful moth features a pair of white flowers for antennae and a highly textured mix of green foliage for the body and wings. The series also includes a spider, a dragonfly, firefly, ladybug, and a variety of beetle types. You can follow Inoue’s prolific and experimental artworks and his ongoing Challenge of the 9 on Instagram or explore his clothing line at Reikan Apparel . + Raku Inoue Via Colossal Images via Raku Inoue

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Raku Inoue crafts delicate insect sculptures from colorful flowers

Worlds largest passive house settlement tops off Heidelberg Village in Germany

October 12, 2016 by  
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Located on the land of a former old freight train terminal, the 116-hectare Bahnstadt celebrates sustainable architecture and diversity in its living, work, and cultural spaces all built to passive house standards for an ultra-low energy footprint. The 6,100-square-meter Heidelberg Village , located at the heart of Bahnstadt, encapsulates the urban development’s values with ecological features like passive houses, green frontages, and solar panels . Related: Germany is building world’s largest passive housing complex “Heidelberg Village represents the notion of sustainable urban planning and architecture both socially as well as environmentally,” explained architect Wolfgang Frey. “The idea behind Heidelberg Village is to attract a heterogeneous neighborhood, thereby creating an energetic, home-like living space with lots of social interaction.” The village has 100-percent handicap accessibility as well as child and elderly care. The multigenerational , heterogenous neighborhood includes 162 one-to-five room apartments, each with its own balcony. Solar panels and vertical gardens top the roof and wrap around the facade. The project is slated for completion in the spring of 2017. + Frey Architekten + Heidelberg Village Images courtesy of Frey Architekten

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Worlds largest passive house settlement tops off Heidelberg Village in Germany

Germany is building world’s largest passive housing complex with 162 green units

August 18, 2016 by  
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In Germany , the world’s biggest passive housing complex is currently under construction. The solar-powered Heidelberg Village designed by Frey Architekten will comprise 162 units and a host of sustainable features, including rooftop and vertical gardens . Frey Architekten founder Wolfgang Frey designed the complex so a wide variety of people could live on the property. There’s a range of one bedroom apartments to apartments that can house families of four or five people. Each apartment will have its own balcony. Solar power and modern ventilation systems will allow the complex to be energy efficient . Vertical gardens and roof gardens will add beauty, fresh air and other benefits. According to the complex’s website, even the “wall color” will make the building sustainable by oxidizing greenhouse gases nitrogen oxides ” into harmless nitrates .” Through the process, oxygen will be released into the air. Related: Belgium’s largest passive office building breaks ground in Brussels Heidelberg Village is being built according to Frey’s “Five-Finger-Principle,” which views sustainability holistically, including “ecology, affordability, integration, innovation, and profitability” as part of the process. The ultimate goal is “building a home environment to last a lifetime,” according to Frey Architekten. Heidelberg Village will likely be finished in 2017. The architects also announced plans to provide construction workers and future residents with food, a lunch program designed to connect the people who will live in Heidelberg Village to those who built their homes. By bringing together these two groups that otherwise may never have met, Frey Architekten hopes to foster a deep sense of community and belonging. In a press release, Frey Architekten founder Wolfgang Frey said, “Our idea is to build a strong community identity by inviting potential residents to our weekly soup kitchen to meet the construction workers and learn more about the people behind the scenes. Through consistent interaction the entire complex will bond over food and friendship.” + Frey Architekten + Heidelberg Village Images courtesy of Frey Architekten

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Germany is building world’s largest passive housing complex with 162 green units

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