Resilient infrastructure proposal aims to protect San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels

December 27, 2017 by  
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Looks like San Francisco’s beautiful Bay Area could be in for a major ecological makeover. SCAPE Landscape Architecture has unveiled Public Sentiment, a living infrastructure proposal that aims to create a visitor-friendly buffer zone around the bay’s most vulnerable ecosystems – made up of marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges – that would protect the low-lying zones from the imminent threat of rising sea levels . Scape’s proposal was developed for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge , an open design competition that calls for innovative solutions to the many issues facing the Bay Area due to climate change . According to the architects, their inspiration for the proposal is based on using sediment as a core building block to create a nature-based resilient system around the bay. Related: EPA Grant Will Help Protect New York’s Salt Marshes The plan is comprised of three projects: Pilots for a Future Bay, The Bay Cushion, and Unlock Alameda Creek. Pilots for a Future Bay involves various pilot programs that would include the local community in participating in the planning process of making the area more resilient. The plan includes working with local students as environmental stewards that would help design and monitor various scientific experiments geared towards protecting the Bay Area’s ecosystems . The Bay Cushion calls for expanding on the ongoing South Bay Salt Pond initiative. Building on the project, which seeks to reduce tidal extremes around the bay, the proposal calls for creating a massive sediment reserve that links ecosystems, wildlife, and visitors to the area. The reserve would include viewing towers, outdoor mudrooms and various “sensing stations” that would run along the existing Bay Trail. Unlock Alameda Creek, which involves unlocking the sediment flows of Alameda Creek, is also an essential part of the proposal. This would include redesigning the creek’s water flow in order to restore the breeding grounds of the native steelheads. Once again, the area would be outfitted with a trail of viewing platforms to enable visitors to take in the infinite value of the bay’s valuable ecosystems. + Resilient Design Bay Area + SCAPE Landscape Architecture

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Resilient infrastructure proposal aims to protect San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels

World’s largest botanical garden to bloom in the desert of Oman

November 15, 2017 by  
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Perhaps the dry desert landscape of Oman may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of lush forests, but the Arabian nation is getting a massive infusion of greenery with the world’s largest botanical garden . Showcasing the country’s rich bio-diversity, the Oman Botanic Garden – designed by Arup, Grimshaw and Haley Sharpe Design – will be a whopping 1,037 acres of land filled with native flora, with two beautiful biomes housing the country’s most unique plant species. Located in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains in the Sultanate of Oman, the botanical garden’s site is one of the few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is still visible after the landscape was elevated by tectonic activity. Working with this unique landscape, the architects designed a complex that would blend into the Mars-esque environment. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: 7 best botanical gardens from around the world Visitors to the gardens will enjoy open walkways that run through the undulating landscape, winding through the wadis, mountains and desert plains as they enjoy the impressive botanic diversity. Inside the two biomes, which house the most unique or sensitive flora, the interior environments were carefully designed to mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the plants’ native climate. Along with the visitors center, the complex will have additional spaces for education and research facilities dedicated to protecting the region’s ample bio-diversity. The garden’s buildings and the landscape architecture were all designed to meet the standards of LEED Platinum . Making the design sustainable was quite a challenge given the region’s water scarcity. Thanks to advanced systems, the entire complex will operate with a grey water irrigation system that works in collaboration with sustainably-sourced water. + Arup + Grimshaw + Haley Sharpe Design Via World Architecture News

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World’s largest botanical garden to bloom in the desert of Oman

Spectacular rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapores Marina One

November 10, 2017 by  
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Singapore’s new title “City in a Garden” is evident in Marina One, a stunning energy-efficient cluster of four high-rises centered on a spectacular “Green Heart.” Designed by ingenhoven architects in collaboration with local firm A61 and landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter + Bowman , Marina One, set to open later this year, offers a mix of residences, retail, and offices, but the real draw is the publicly accessible green center that takes inspiration from Asian rice paddy terraces. Planted with over 350 types of trees and planets, the 37,000-square-meter landscaped area mimics a rainforest and provides cooling microclimates and increased biodiversity. Located in Singapore’s Marina Bay Central Business District, Marina One consists of four buildings: a pair of LEED Platinum pre-certified office towers totaling 175,000 square meters and two 34-story residential towers with 1,042 apartments set atop a retail podium. “While the outer face of the four towers strictly follows the city grid, the maximised inner space is a free-formed three-dimensional biodiversity garden,” wrote ingenhoven architects, who say the “Green Heart” garden is the largest public plaza in the CBD. The shape and placement of the garden and buildings optimize natural ventilation and a comfortable microclimate year-round. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark The sustainability-minded development uses energy-saving systems such as solar shading and high-performance glazing, while solar panels draw renewable energy. Rainwater harvesting and NEWater for toilet flushing reduce water consumption. Marina One will offer direct connections to four out of the six Singaporean MRT lines and bus stations. The “Green Heart” will include 700 trees and is shaped by the undulating terraces that surround it. Wooden walkways traverse the landscape. + ingenhoven architects Via Dezeen Images via ingenhoven architects

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Spectacular rainforest-like green heart grows within Singapores Marina One

Herzog & de Meuron are upcycling a historic gasometer into a stunning residential tower

October 23, 2017 by  
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A former industrial area in Stockholm is on its way to a stunning makeover. Several old gasometers in Hjorthagen are being  repurposed into a vibrant new residential area called Gasklockan at the hands of several talented designers. For one tower, Swiss architects, Herzog & de Meuron will convert the old brick building into a soaring residential tower, while Piet Oudolf and LOLA Architects  will create a lush green space that snakes through the development. Besides being a local landmark, the late 19th century buildings have quite a bit of historical value to the city, representing 100 years of gasworks in the area. Accordingly, the master plan for renovating the area focuses on integrating the beloved gasometers into the newly revamped residential area. Related: INTERVIEW: Walking the High Line with its garden designer Piet Oudolf The team behind Herzog & de Meuron will be converting the tallest gasometer into a 330-feet-high residential tower with 45 floors while the smallest gas holder will be turned into an art gallery (konsthall) for exhibitions. The remaining buildings will be rearranged to coexist with several new social areas around the complex, including a sculpture park, cafes and restaurants, as well as plenty of green space . Not only will the development count on amazing architecture, but will boast an equally stunning landscaping design . Led by renowned architect Piet Oudolf and LOLA Landscape Architects, the landscape design will focus on providing ample green space and a central plaza for residents and visitors to come together. According to the project description, the landscaping scheme will focus on creating a sustainable , natural environment that will enhance the climate around the complex and be accessible throughout the year, in every season. At the heart of the project will be an expansive meadow garden with a 300-feet long sun bench. Several walking paths will wrap around the meadow and snake between the buildings, creating a seamless connection between nature and the manmade. + Herzog & de Meuron + Piet Oudolf + LOLA Architects

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Herzog & de Meuron are upcycling a historic gasometer into a stunning residential tower

Beautiful visitors center curves around a semi-natural ice rink in a Japanese forest

August 28, 2017 by  
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Tokyo-based Klein Dytham architecture completed a beautiful timber-clad visitor center befitting its surroundings in a breathtaking Japanese forest. Set in the foothills of the active volcano Mount Asama in Karuizawa, the Picchio Ice Rink Visitors Center welcomes tourists who flock to the area for hiking in the summer and ice-skating in winter. The architecture and landscape are sensitive to nature, particularly the site’s natural flow of water and ecosystem, and also draws direct inspiration from the surrounding flora and fauna. Designed in collaboration with landscape design firm Studio on Site , the Picchio Ice Rink Visitors Center is part of the popular Hoshinoya resorts area in Karuizawa, Nagano . One of the biggest highlights of this year-round destination is the “KERA-IKE (pond) Ice Rink,” a semi-natural gourd-shaped ice rink made from both assisted and natural freezing. In the distance rises stunning snow-capped Mount Asama. Deep wintering pools were carved into the pond to give fish and other aquatic life a place to live where the ice doesn’t freeze entirely. Related: Elegant Japanese wedding chapel mimics curved leaves The Picchio Ice Rink Visitors Center, which opened in summer 2016, features a clubhouse and serves as a trailhead during the summer and skate-rental area in winter. The building and a pair of complementary gabion walls behind it are curved to follow the shape of the pond and reference the arcs made by skaters in the ice rink. The walkways, landscaping, and benches are also informed by the landscape’s natural topography. The building facade is clad in cedar shingles punctuated by bright green and blue anondised aluminum tiles. Floor-to-ceiling glazing lets in natural light and offers views of the rink and nature from inside. + Klein Dytham architecture Via Dezeen Images © Brian Scott Peterson and Makoto Yoshida

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Beautiful visitors center curves around a semi-natural ice rink in a Japanese forest

Lotus-inspired public space collects rainwater to reduce Da Nangs runoff footprint

August 28, 2017 by  
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Urban stormwater runoff poses serious risks to safety and the environment and cities around the world are taking note. HUNI Architectes tackles Da Nang’s runoff footprint with their competition-winning design for the Da Nang City Center Square in Vietnam. Designed with SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems), this attractive lotus flower-inspired square will create a vibrant public space and destination that collects and reduces stormwater runoff. HUNI Architectes’ design beat a shortlist of 15 proposals in a competition organized by the city as part of a greater masterplan to transform Da Nang into Vietnam’s most modernized metropolis by 2030. The architects’ vision for Da Nang City Center Square draws inspiration from Vietnam’s national flower, the lotus , which symbolizes divine beauty. The plaza’s multiple shade structures take the form of giant lotus leaves, while a massive undulating canopy seems to reference the leaves’ gently crinkled shape. Circular granite paving patterns allude to ripples in a lake and are punctuated by circular grassy planters and lotus-pink play areas. Reducing stormwater runoff was a major goal of the design. Impervious surfaces like asphalt will be swapped out for pervious materials such as permeable paving and landscaping, while tree pits will be designed to collect, slow, and filter the flow of stormwater. Water features and interactive fountains will double as SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems) and can be enjoyed year-round along with lighting and performance sets. Related: Vietnam Constructs World’s Largest Dragon-Shaped Bridge – And It Breathes Fire! The contemporary new plaza is also sensitive to its historic surroundings. HUNI Architectes worked to preserve existing buildings on site, including the Han Market, which will be refurbished to increase its appeal to locals and tourists alike. To make the space pedestrian friendly , parking will be tucked underground and there will be easy access to public transport. Bike sharing facilities will spring up in the “Mobility Hubs” at Han Market and cyclists will be able to enjoy a special lane shared with public transport. + HUNI Architectes Via ArchDaily

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Lotus-inspired public space collects rainwater to reduce Da Nangs runoff footprint

Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

August 18, 2017 by  
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A “green lung” in Qatar’s desert landscape is helping people stay healthy and active, and reconnecting them to nature. Erik Behrens and James Haig Streeter of AECOM recently completed Oxygen Park, a unique public space in Doha’s Education City. Built to promote exercise and social gatherings, Oxygen Park is partly buried underground and features undulating, organic forms masses inspired by the desert’s wind-eroded rocks and landscapes. Oxygen Park derives its name from the elemental life-force of oxygen , which the park also produces with its tree-studded green landscape. The designers wrote: “Oxygen Park is a man-made ‘green lung’ with a design inspired by nature. It is an antidote to the generic indoor gym environment and helps people to get back to nature, while fostering social engagement and promoting active healthy lifestyles.” A series of “balloon lights” float above the subterranean landscape to draw attention to Oxygen Park from afar. Related: SOMA Architects’ luxury Shaza Hotel breaks ground in Doha The park’s exercise features include shaded running trails, subterranean pitches for team sports, and equestrian facilities. More passive recreational areas also punctuate the park in the form of water plazas, sensory gardens, shade gardens, play gardens , and a series of soundscape -filled, folly spheres. The use of water and shade are seamlessly integrated into the design to provide relief from the hot climate. At night, a beautiful lighting scheme illuminates the park and water to create a safe and attractive environment for workouts and strolls after sundown. + AECOM Images by Markus Elblaus

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Subterranean Oxygen Park is a breath of fresh air in the Qatari desert

Curvaceous green landscape near Edinburgh Castle will hide buildings underneath

August 2, 2017 by  
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Scotland’s historic Edinburgh Castle may date back to the 12th century, but the landscape next door is getting a modern refresh. American architecture firm wHY and Edinburgh office GRAS just won the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition with their designs for a curvaceous green landscape with buildings hidden underneath. The winning design, called Butterfly, beat out proposals by six other teams including the likes of BIG , Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, and Sou Fujimoto Architects. Located on the West Princes Street Gardens site, the £25 million Ross Pavilion will be integrated within a rolling terrain that the jury commended for its sensitivity to the landscape history as well as for increasing the green space within the Gardens. The design embeds the pavilions , which will comprise a visitor center and cafe, underneath an undulating landscape to keep Edinburgh Castle the focal point. The pavilion will replace an existing garden bandstand and host key events in Edinburgh’s calendar. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects unveil plans for spectacular Eco Park in England “They demonstrated an impressive collaboration which respects and enhances the historical context and backdrop of the castle and the city, whilst creating new heritage and increasing the green space within the gardens,” said jury chair Norman Springford. “All of which were key aspects for us all and respected the importance of the space within a world heritage site.” A sunken outdoor amphitheater sits between the green-roofed buildings and is accessible via a ramped pathway. Construction on the Ross Pavilion and West Princes Street Garden is expected to begin in 2018. + wHY Architects Via ArchDaily Images by wHY Architects

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Curvaceous green landscape near Edinburgh Castle will hide buildings underneath

This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

July 28, 2017 by  
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Nigel Kirkwood worked in the mining industry for 25 years and it was his fascination with the natural sustainability of tunnels that led him to build his own underground, earth-sheltered home to live out his retirement years. Located in Quindalup, Western Australia, Kirkwood’s self-built hobbit house is buried under nearly 1,000 tons of soil and covered with greenery. Working in the mining industry taught Kirkwood a thing or two about the sustainable features of underground structures. Using the tunnel layout as inspiration, he built the home on two large concrete footings and covered the structure with 19 tons of high-quality steel. He then sealed the structure with a Polyurea water- and fire-proof coating and, as the final step, buried his new home under 1,000 tons of locally-sourced loam sand. Along with the protection against fires and storms that underground homes offer, the earth-sheltered structure has natural insulative properties, requiring require no heating or cooling. Additionally, the interior is virtually sound-proofed against outdoor noise. Related: This cute little hobbit home cost just $100 to build The interior of the home is surprisingly bright and airy, thanks to the all-glass entranceways on either side of the home. The rooftop is covered in natural plants and beautiful flowers that bloom in the summertime. The greenery is drip irrigated and fertilized throughout the year. Mr. Kirkwood will be opening his house to the public in September for Sustainable House Day in order to inspire others to consider sustainable building options. Via Homecrux Images by ABC South West: Roxanne Taylor, via Homecrux

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This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year

Upcoming nuclear power plant in the UK may shoot giant rainbows into the sky

July 25, 2017 by  
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A new proposal could have a nuclear power plant in the UK shooting literal rainbows into the sky. UK-based master planning firm, One Creative Environments , has submitted a landscape design proposal that envisions Cumbria’s Moorside Power Plant equipped with two large glass towers that would use light and mist to create a continual arching rainbow over the site. The Moorside Power plant is slated to be completed in Cumbria’s rural landscape in 2024. A creative design competition, sponsored by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Landscape Institute, called on designers to submit creative landscape proposals for the project. One Creative Environments’ rainbow pitch, called Discovery Park, was recently shortlisted along with four other design firms . Related: Artist weaves stunning rainbows from 60 miles of thread The company’s submission envisions a master landscaping plan that would seek to integrate the power plant into the area without sacrificing the existing landscape’s beauty. The proposal calls for using 13 million cubic meters of excavated earth to form a green-covered hillscape, which would be sculpted into various earthworks shaped into representations of splitting the atom, energy and particle trails. An outdoor science park would house educational activities and science exhibitions, and a large, open-air amphitheater would host concerts throughout the year. However, the cherry on top of the design is clearly the massive man-made rainbow that would arch over the landscape. Two large glass prismatic towers would be placed on opposite sides of the project and would use light and mist to create a continual rainbow. An onsite plant nursery would produce “floristically-rich grassland habitats” that would echo the colors of the rainbow on the ground. According to the designers, the rainbow installation was inspired by a William Wordsworth poem remarking on the beauty of Cumbria, “My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky”. One Creative Environments director, Mark Martin, hails the company’s design as a feasible option that would be able to incorporate the power plant into the area without sacrificing its rural landscape. “To see our landscape designs in the top five is an achievement in itself, and going by the comments received, we appear to have caught the imagination of the public,” he said. “The landscape designs, discovery centre and rainbow installation will create a destination in their own right, helping the power station blend in with the stunning scenery in the region, whilst providing a place for people to visit and learn about NuGen’s advancement of safe nuclear science and power.” + One Creative Environments Via World Architecture News

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Upcoming nuclear power plant in the UK may shoot giant rainbows into the sky

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