This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

July 11, 2018 by  
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Japanese firm Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects has unveiled a beautiful round home that is wrapped in a spiraling rooftop garden. The family home, which is located on a remote Japanese island, was built out of woven bamboo lattice and clad with earthen walls . To create a strong connection between the home and nature, a spiraling garden that rises from the ground level provides optimal growing conditions for fresh vegetables and herbs that the family can enjoy year-round. Located on the remote island of Awaji, the home was built for a family of four. The architects designed it with an eye to withstandi the temperate climate on the island, but they also drew inspiration from the family’s nature-conscious lifestyle. Their first objective was to create a fertile area that could help feed the family year-round. Secondly, the master plan called for creating a closed-cycle landscape to make the home self-sufficient , enabling the family to live in harmony with the environment for years to come. Related: This striking concrete home uses mesh walls to connect with nature The architects began by creating a large circular frame out of woven bamboo lattice. They then clad the round form with Sanwa Earth finish. On the interior, they used a technique called Tataki to create a  hard-packed earthen floor  out of dirt, lime and water. The walls were also made out of packed earth . The combination of earthen walls and flooring provides a tight thermal envelope for the home. In winter, the walls and floors absorb heat, which is released at night, keeping the living space warm. In the hot summer months, the home’s stack effect layout (a height difference between the central space and the rest of the home) enables optimal air circulation to cool the interior. Inspired by the family’s eco-conscious lifestyle, the architects wanted to incorporate greenery into the already eco-friendly home design. Accordingly, the roof was turned into a spiral garden whose shape provides optimal growing conditions. Rising up from the ground level, the rooftop garden wraps around the home, providing a perfect blend of sun exposure and humidity to grow a variety of plants and vegetables. Rainwater soaks the top part of the garden, then flows downwards to a series of retaining ponds filled with aquatic plants. + Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects Photography by Kaori Ichikawa via Ryuichi Ashizawa Architects

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This rammed-earth home features a beautiful, spiraling rooftop garden

Schemata Architects weaves modern design into a traditional Japanese house

July 5, 2018 by  
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Tokyo-based  Schemata Architects have renovated a traditional Japanese residence into a modern dwelling with an office, while keeping many of the 80-year-old building’s original features intact. Located in the seaside city of Kamakura an hour south of Tokyo , the Hojo Sanci is set in a quiet and lush residential area. To minimize changes to the original building structure and retain an open feel, the architects used varying floor heights and finishes to differentiate the programmatic areas. Built primarily from wood, the two-story Japanese home — which comprises a beautiful onsite garden and verdant greenery beyond — dates back to the early 20th century. Schemata Architects oriented the home’s rooms outward to keep the original emphasis on the outdoors. However, they removed the fusuma (wood-framed paper sliding doors) that had divided the rooms to create one large open space. To celebrate the building’s past, the architects also preserved existing finishes and partially exposed the substructure by removing sections of the ceiling and walls. Tatami mats were also laid down in certain rooms, where the floor was elevated above ground by 60 centimeters. “We decided to focus on floor heights and finishes and treat them as means to express different spatial characters and define spatial/functional zones,” explained Jo Nagasaka, the founder of Schemata Architects. “Firstly, we set a tatami floor area raised 40 cm above the earth floor at the entrance as a reference plane and determined the height, dimension and finish of respective floors in other areas. Each room was distinguished from others by different characteristics of furniture placed there. The floor height differences create a vibrant feeling as well as different viewpoints, allowing one to constantly feel nature and creative energy at any place and anytime in this space.” Related: Century-old Japanese townhouse reborn as Blue Bottle Coffee’s first Kyoto location The mix of modern and traditional becomes apparent in the various room designs. On the west side of the home, the architects inserted a Japanese-style room with tatami and an engawa (a type of covered veranda ) that connects to the garden, and OSB floors and gray geometric furnishings are used in the contemporary office addition. + Schemata Architects Images via Kenta Hasegawa

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The 1970s brick Upside-Down House gets an eco-friendly refresh

July 5, 2018 by  
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Melbourne-based Inbetween Architecture has breathed new life into a dark and tired 1970s double brick home in Kew, Australia. Nicknamed the Upside-Down House, the gut-renovation includes a dramatically transformed interior with a focus on natural daylight and energy efficiency . In addition to increased daylighting with skylights and adherence to passive solar principles, the remodeled home was fitted with energy-saving LED lighting, hydronic heating, improved insulation and solar-powered ventilators. When Inbetween Architecture was tapped for the project, the team debated between renovating and knocking the structure down to start anew. After weighing the environmental and cost benefits, however, the architects decided to retain the existing house, which was structurally sound but extremely dated and depressingly dark. As a result, they focused on bringing natural light into the home. Since the ground floor receives less access to daylight , the team decided to flip the ground floor and the first floor programming by placing the bedrooms on the ground floor and the communal living areas in the light-filled first floor — thus giving rise to the home’s nickname, the “Upside-Down House.” “The favorite part of our renovations is without question the soaring cathedral-like skylights that not only brought light in, but created space above without impacting on the roofline,” said the client, a young family of four. “Visually, our house flowed from room to room with the feature stair-case leading directly to the open tallow-wood living areas lit up by the northern sun. This flow continued to the outdoors with the clever relocation of an outdoor balcony to link to the previously isolated pool-area allowing for an expansive out-door entertaining area second to none.” Related: Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia The architects replaced the home’s original seven “closet”-sized bedrooms with four spacious bedrooms. The interior design follows a minimalist aesthetic with hidden storage to avoid clutter. Created to meet a six-star energy rating, the home takes advantage of thermal mass from the existing concrete slabs on both floors and the externally insulated double brick walls. Long roof eaves and new dual shading help mitigate solar gain . + Inbetween Architecture Images by Tatjana Plitt and Nick Stephenson

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A 17th-century Spanish hospital gets transformed into a cozy library

July 5, 2018 by  
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When Madrid-based design practice Murado & Elvira Architects won a competition to turn the ancient Sancti Spiritus Hospital into the Public Library and Historic Archive for the Spanish city of Baiona, they wanted the renovation to focus on the concept of hospitality. In contrast to the historic stone and plaster facade that was left in place, the architects transformed the interior with maple wood volumes to create a sense of coziness and comfort. Eight years in the making, the 1.5-million Euro adaptive reuse project was completed in March of this year. Located in the historic city center, the 17th-century Sancti Spiritus Hospital is protected under Bien de Interés Cultural status; however, the building suffered major alterations over the years, including the destruction of its interior in the 1970s. Instead of merely renovating the structure, Murado & Elvira Architects also worked to return parts of the building back to their historic roots. The interior, though, was given an entirely new identity organized around a thick stone wall that recalls the building’s original construction. All the rooms are wrapped in warm maple plywood, which was also used for the furnishing. “When we first visited the old building we felt the need for our project to create a new interior identity, connecting and giving continuity to the old structures,” say Clara Murado and Juan Elvira of the two-story renovation . “The building could be understood as a solid stone plinth and a wooden fitment on top of it. The library becomes a furniture to be inhabited. We always had in mind the studio of Saint Jerome in Antonello da Messina’s painting where the whole studio seems to be built around the book.” Related: An old London chapel is reborn into a modern home and artist studio The library’s interior layout was also informed by the historical sequence of rooms. The Historic Archive, the children’s library, and the service rooms dominate the ground floor. The children’s library also opens up to a courtyard space. Three stairs lead up to the upper floor where the main reading room, individual study alcoves, bathrooms, offices and bench reading rooms are located. + Murado & Elvira Architects Images via Imagen Subliminal

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Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Ryuji Kajino from Malubishi Architects has just unveiled the Tiny Atelier — a one-room work studio crafted with the remnants of an 80-year-old timber barn that previously stood on the same site. The minimalist work space, which was created for a designer who makes accessories from dried flowers, was built with timber, old beams and roof tiles repurposed from the existing barn. Located in Kurashiki, Japan, the work space was built for a designer who lives on a hilltop lot that overlooks the Seto Inland Sea in the distance. A covered porch leads from her home to the new studio, which is surrounded by greenery. In fact, the artist grows the flowers for her accessories in the onsite garden. Related: The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer’s studio built with reclaimed wood The architect wanted to retain as many of the materials from the old barn as possible. The structure includes a new pitched roof topped with tiles from the existing barn. Inside, exposed log beams on the timber-lined ceiling pay homage to the former building. Vertical wooden boards  clad the petite studio, except for the front door, which has a diagonal pattern and custom-made chestnut handle. Large windows provide an abundance of natural light as well as beautiful views of the valley below. The room’s biggest window sits in a timber frame constructed with both old and new wooden pillars, again marking the transition from past to present. The office design embraces minimalism with sparse furniture and a wraparound white shelf built high up on the wall to provide space for drying flowers. According to the architect, re-using the barn’s old materials enabled him to create the atelier space as a nod to the local history. “Utilizing the materials that can be used by existing barns, we inherited the history that this site had been walking on,” explained Kajino, “but also aimed at a new architecture mixed old and new materials as a future architectural building.” + Ryuji Kajino Via Dezeen Images via Ryuji Kajino

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Croatia Pavilions Cloud Pergola is one of the worlds largest 3D-printed structures

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Bruno Juri?i?  has unveiled one of the world’s largest and most complex 3D-printed structures at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale . Dubbed the Cloud Pergola / The Architecture of Hospitality, this massive, site-specific structure for the Croatian Pavilion features 300 kilograms of 3D-printed biodegradable plastic. The immersive cloud-like installation invites visitors to reflect on the topics of hospitality, climate change and sociability. The Cloud Pergola is a contemporary take on the classic Mediterranean pergola structure, a space where “the private and public merge.” Curated and authored by Bruno Juri?i? in collaboration with Arup , Ai-Build and Alisa Andrašek, the innovative pavilion’s main focus is the ‘Cloud Drawing,’ a 3D-printed structure built of voxels arranged in a fluid-like mass using over 100,000 extruded elements. A “multi-agent algorithm” that was built with data on cloud formation and site-specific environmental data was used to inform the design’s lattice-like form and arrangement. The Cloud Pergola is complemented with artwork that helps create an immersive experience. Vlatka Horvat’s wall-based work ‘To Still the Eye’ explores the “notion of horizon as a physical manifestation of distance and as a metaphor for the future, wanting to address this sense of possibility,” while artist Maja Kuzmanovi?’s ‘Ephemeral Garden’ is an audio installation. “I wanted the pavilion to push the boundaries of the aesthetics, spatial and tectonic consequences of emerging paradigms of augmented intelligence at the cross-over between architecture, art, and engineering by presenting a full-scale pergola structure made using 3D robotic fabrication and automated design protocols,” said Bruno Juri?i? in a statement. “The Cloud Pergola was envisioned as a paradigm for what architecture should stand for in the 21st century.” Related: Vatican City’s first-ever pavilion debuts at the Venice Architecture Biennale Arup and the 3D manufacturing team of Ai-Build also developed a simple assembly sequence for the Cloud Pergola, which will be put on tour after the end of the Venice Biennale. The Croatian Pavilion will be exhibited for the entire duration of the Architectural Biennale, until November 25, 2018. + Croatian Pavilion Images by Jan Stojkovic

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These fish and meat options are the most environmentally costly

June 12, 2018 by  
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Farmed seafood, wild-caught fish , or livestock : which one is the most environmentally costly to produce? A University of Washington -led study probed that question by scrutinizing 148 life-cycle assessments for animal protein production. Lead author Ray Hilborn, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences professor, said in a statement , “If you’re an environmentalist, what you eat makes a difference. We found there are obvious good choices, and really obvious bad choices.” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The environmental costs of producing meat, seafood Which food type is more environmentally costly to produce — livestock, farmed seafood, or wild-caught fish? New research from the University of Washington takes a comprehensive look at the environmental impacts of different types of animal protein production. Read more: http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/06/11/choice-matters-the-environmental-costs-of-producing-meat-seafood/ Posted by University of Washington News on Monday, June 11, 2018 Scientists drew on four metrics to compare environmental impacts of different animal proteins: greenhouse gas emissions , energy use, potential to add excess nutrients like fertilizer into the environment, and potential to emit substances that help cause  acid rain . They used 40 grams of protein — around the size of an average burger patty — as their standard amount . Related: Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat Industrial beef production and farmed catfish were the most environmentally costly in general, according to the university. Farmed mollusks such as scallops, oysters, or mussels and small wild-caught fish were the least environmentally costly. The university said capture fish choices like pollock, the cod family, and hake also have relatively low impact, and farmed salmon performed well. But there were differences across animal proteins — for example, the researchers said livestock production consumed less power than most seafood aquaculture as continual water circulation uses up electricity. Farmed tilapia, shrimp, and catfish used the most energy. Beef and catfish aquaculture generated around 20 times more greenhouse gases than chicken , farmed salmon, farmed mollusks, and small capture fisheries. “When compared to other studies of vegetarian and vegan diets, a selective diet of aquaculture and wild capture fisheries has a lower environmental impact than either of the plant-based diets,” according to the university. The journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published the study this week. Four University of Washington scientists and one scientist from company Avalerion Capital contributed. + University of Washington + Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment Images via

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New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

June 12, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Earth Engineering Center (EEC|CCNY) at the Grove School of Engineering of the City College of New York suggests that plastic waste can effectively be converted into usable fuel and energy rather than being dumped in a landfill or polluting the ocean. Researchers found that the addition of non-recycled plastics (NRPs) to a chemical recycling process known as gasification results in the production of crude oil -based fuel. It also reduces pollution, both plastic and emissions, in contrast to traditional methods of disposing of plastic waste, such as incineration or dumping. Plastic is a product derived from crude oil and, as such, contains significant latent energy that can be harnessed using the right technology and technique. “This study demonstrates that because carbon- and hydrogen -rich plastics have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use technologies like gasification to convert these materials into fuels, chemicals and other products,” study co-author Marco J. Castaldi told Phys.org . As concerns rise over plastic pollution, scientists are looking to reframe plastic as a resource rather than waste . “Plastics have an end-of-life use that will be turning waste into energy, which is something we all need and use,” study co-author Demetra Tsiamis told Phys.org. Related: UN releases first “state of plastics” report on World Environment Day Gasification uses air or steam to heat plastic waste. This results in the creation of industrial gas mixtures called synthesis gas, or syngas. This syngas can either be converted into diesel and petrol or burned directly to generate electricity . This process is preferable to incineration of plastic waste because it allows for the storage of potentially usable energy that otherwise would be wasted through incineration. Gasification is also better for air quality, producing much lower levels of sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions. + Earth Engineering Center Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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Japanese home features a bookshelf wall designed to withstand earthquakes

April 4, 2018 by  
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In earthquake-prone Japan , a wall full of books might seem like a disaster waiting to happen. Rather than capitulate to Mother Nature however, the owners of this Yokohama home found a way to safely put their massive library of books on full display without fear of collapse. Shinsuke Fujii Architects designed the Bookshelf House that features angled earthquake-resistant bookshelves easily accessible by children and the elderly without a ladder. Slotted in a dense Yokohama neighborhood, the roughly 930-square-foot Bookshelf House stands out from its neighbors with its black oblique walls clad in standing seam metal and set atop a concrete base. The slanted wall also helps shield the recessed entrance from rain. For privacy, windows are minimized, particularly on the lower levels. In contrast to its dark exterior, the interior is lined in light-colored timber. The front of the home is filled with natural light and features a sunken dining area next to the bookshelf wall, the kitchen, and pantry. The master bedroom and bathroom are placed at the rear of the home. Stairs lead up to a living room and small office space as well as a secondary bedroom and small glass-walled terrace . Related: House in Byoubuguara Uses Curved Floors to Maximize a Small Footprint in Japan “The horizontal shelf functions to prevent buckling of 4 m long pillars,” wrote the architects. “From the viewpoint of a safe bookshelf, a new relationship of housing – structure – bookshelf has been created.” + Shinsuke Fujii Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Tsukui Teruaki

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Japanese home features a bookshelf wall designed to withstand earthquakes

BIG unveils designs for LEED-certified skyscraper in NYC

April 4, 2018 by  
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A new LEED -seeking glass skyscraper is set to rise in Midtown Manhattan, with designs courtesy of Bjarke Ingels Group . New York YIMBY got the scoop on the first renderings, showing an immense office tower wrapped in glass curtain wall and landscaped terraces. Located on 3 West 29th Street, the building has been dubbed “29th and 5th” and will replace the old Bancroft Bank Building that was demolished a few years ago. As reported by New York YIMBY, the “29th and 5th” project will target LEED certification and offer generous amenities for office workers. Although the September 2017 Department of Buildings application for the project reportedly specified a 551-foot envelope with 34 stories, the renderings look nearly double that size. Related: BIG unveils designs for bow tie-shaped National Theater of Albania “The building will incorporate a LEED certified design and highly amenitized offering package promoting employee connectivity, communal workspaces, and fitness options that will pioneer a new frontier of wellness and sustainability within the workplace,” says a 29th and 5th project description. “The building is designed with smaller 13,400 square foot floorplates that will attract an underserved market while leaving ample lot area to design a vibrant park surrounding the building.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Via New York YIMBY Images via New York YIMBY , by Bjarke Ingels Group

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