Monolithic stone building springs up at the base of a Norwegian waterfall

July 10, 2017 by  
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Bergen-based architects Fortunen AS worked with Østengen & Bergo to install a compact service building at the base of the beautiful Skjervet waterfall in Granvin, Norway, using locally-sourced materials. The nature of the project required a prudent building strategy , so the team designed the structure to blend into the natural landscape and appear as though it had been there for years. The terrain around the waterfall site is steep and quite difficult to maneuver. However, the rugged landscape and lush vegetation around the site were carefully protected during the entire construction phase. A single trail made of natural stone was chosen as the central nerve of the project, and became the inspiration for the building’s design. Related: Snøhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nation’s second-largest waterfall The compact structure, which consists of two restrooms and a small technical room, is clad in locally-sourced natural stone. The remaining building materials including rebar fencing and concrete benches were also chosen to blend into the environment. On the inside, panels of warm plywood cover the walls, with various narrow glazed cutouts that look out over the river, allowing for amazing views of the Storelvi River, forest, and mountains. The monolithic building’s steep slanted roof , along with the natural stone facade, creates a jagged silhouette that, although contemporary in style, strategically blends into the solid rock surroundings, creating a subtle addition to the area, rather than a distraction. This achieved the design team’s original intention, which was to create a series of “gentle interventions that look like they have always been in this terrain – despite their modern form. The combination of contemporary form, ancient craft and local materials create a timeless dimension to the project.” The Skjervet design earned the World Architecture News Small Spaces Award in 2016. + Fortunen AS + Østengen & Bergo

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Monolithic stone building springs up at the base of a Norwegian waterfall

Snhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nations second-largest waterfall

June 2, 2017 by  
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The nation’s second largest waterfall by volume will soon reopen to the public for the first time in over 150 years. Architecture and landscape firm Snøhetta recently revealed new renderings for their designs to restore public access to Oregon’s Willamette Falls. A mix of adaptive reuse and new build, the design will renovate the 22-acre site’s existing industrial buildings and add a new ecological riverwalk. Industrial infrastructure has cut the breathtaking Willamette Falls from public access for over a century, however, a redevelopment scheme for the area sparked newfound interest in reclaiming and rehabilitating the landscape. Snøhetta, along with Mayer/Reed, inc. and DIALOG , won an international design competition to reimagine the falls and collaborated with the community to refine their proposals. “The new design treats the whole site as a single landscape, with a network of promenades and lofted pathways that lace through the physical strata of the site, immersing visitors in a tactile experience that celebrates the changing water level, the feeling of the spray on your skin, the dramatic play of light and the roar and presence of the falls,” says Snøhetta. Key to the design is the new riverwalk that will “serve as a portal to the Northwest’s collective history” and connect Oregon City’s historic downtown to the crest of the fall. The riverwalk will feature a mix of materials, from ancient basalt and wood to industrial steel, as well as layered references to the site’s natural, ecological, cultural, and geological contexts. Related: Snøhetta’s ready-made cabin can fit into any landscape In addition to restoring public access, the design seeks to rehabilitate the landscape with the removal of select industrial structures. Five unique habitats will be restored and special attention paid to endangered species. Greater access will also be provided to the five confederated tribes who annually fish the waters. The Willamette Falls riverwalk conceptual design will be unveiled at a public event tomorrow and construction is expected to begin June 2018. + Snøhetta Images via Snøhetta

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Google unveils giant green landscraper for London HQ

June 2, 2017 by  
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Google has finally unveiled plans for its new London headquarters—and it’s a beaut. Designed by the architecture studios of Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels , the gargantuan one-million-square-foot office building is dubbed “landscraper” for its length that’s longer than the Shard is tall. Set parallel to the King’s Cross railway station, the Google building is punctuated with greenery and energy-efficient systems including rooftop solar panels and smart solar blinds. Recently submitted to the Camden Council for planning approval, Google’s “landscraper” is one of three buildings that will create a campus for up to 7,000 employees. Although BIG and Heatherwick are also designing Google’s Mountain View campus the two campuses are remarkably different. Whereas the California campus catches the eye with its tent-like design, the London “landscraper” is more demure with its 11-story tall blocky form. Related: New images reveal Google’s plans for a futuristic solar-powered California headquarters “The area is a fascinating collision of diverse building types and spaces and I can’t help but love this mix of massive railway stations, roads, canals and other infrastructure all layered up into the most connected point in London,” said Heatherwick in a press statement. “Influenced by these surroundings, we have treated this new building for Google like a piece of infrastructure too, made from a family of interchangeable elements which ensure that the building and its workspace will stay flexible for years to come.” Natural light and greenery fills the giant luxury office building, and employees will enjoy access to a “wellness center” with gyms, massage rooms, a swimming pool, multipurpose sports center, and a rooftop garden with varied landscapes, edible gardens, cafes, and lookout points. The building also includes bicycle parking for commuters, rooftop solar that amounts to nearly 20MWh of annual output, and motorized timber blinds to mitigate solar heat gain . Construction is expected to begin in 2018. Via The Guardian Images via Google

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Beautiful cliffside home ‘split in half’ by landslide rebuilt with wooden pods

March 21, 2017 by  
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Sometimes beautiful design is just fate. When AR Design Studio decided to add an extension to a cliffside home on the UK’s South Coast, the entire house ended up being split in half due to a major landslide . Fortunately, the architects stayed on to design a replacement house, resulting in a beautiful vacation home called the Crow’s Nest. This time, however, the gorgeous structure, which is made out of four wooden “pods,” was built with highly-engineered technology to stabilize the structure against future land movements. The Crow’s Nest home is built looking over a large cliff on the UK’s South Coast. To secure the new home against future natural disasters , the architects worked with engineers to create an integrated system that could resist major land movements. The system entailed installing dwarfs walls into a massive concrete slat that sits underneath the home. This was strategic to creating an adjustable raft-like structural frame where the walls absorb any major land movement. In this case, mechanical jacks installed underneath the frame would be able to re-level the house afterwards. Related: These 6 extraordinary cliffside homes will give you chills Although the original home was severely damaged by the landslide, the architects managed to use its original cabin design as inspiration for the new one. The team created an elongated structure with a series of four “twisted” pods, creating a unique contemporary cabin character . Clad in beautiful blond larch panels, the home seamlessly blends in with the surrounding landscape. The entryway is made up of the smallest pod , which leads into the main living area. The “tower pod” to the left houses the large master bedroom, along with the children’s bedroom and bathrooms. The remaining pod on the right of the living area is a guest space that can be closed when not in use. The interior comprises a light, airy design with a modern cabin feel. Bold wooden furnishings are found throughout, but the use of various industrial materials give the space a contemporary touch. Large windows offer optimal natural light as well as stunning views of the forest and coastal views. + AR Design Studio Via Design Milk Photography by Martin Gardner

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Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

March 21, 2017 by  
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A company based in Toronto is bringing New York City its first community solar project. UGE International , one of the world’s leading renewable-energy contractors, will be partnering with Gotham Community Solar to develop a new array at a multi-tenant commercial facility between the Park Slope and Boerum Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in early summer, will have a rated peak capacity of roughly 100 kilowatts, according to UGE. The building abuts another UGE project: the Whole Foods Market at 214 3rd Street, colloquially known as “3rd and 3rd” by locals. “It’s been a privilege to work with ConEd , the Department of Buildings, and the project’s ownership group on developing this landmark project” Tim Woodcock, UGE’s Regional Director, said in a statement. Related: UGE is building a massive rooftop solar array atop this popular Brooklyn church Woodcock anticipates selling any surplus power to nearby residents at rates lower than those offered by their utility companies. The benefits would be twofold: cheaper electricity that also comes from a sustainable source. “The solar power generated by the project will be credited to numerous residential accounts, offering access to the benefits and low cost of solar energy to those previously excluded due to their housing situation,” he added. + UGE International

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WOHA’s deep-green Enabling Village is a beacon of universal design

January 3, 2017 by  
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WOHA ‘s latest project in Singapore proves that universal design can be incredibly sexy. The team just revamped a defunct 1970’s building into Enabling Village , a verdant multi-use community center in Redhill. Designed to be both sustainable and accessible, the renovation serves as a beacon of inclusion for locals. WOHA chose to reuse the former school compound’s original structure and basic layout, but updated it with a number of accessibility features. Visitors with disabilities will find various elevators, low-gradient ramps, tactile floor indicators, as well as hearing loops and braille signs located throughout the building. Related: WOHA’s solar-powered SkyVille in Singapore boasts a deep-green public skypark The center includes six main spaces that are named for their uses: “Nest”, “Playground”, “Village Green”, “Hive”, “Hub” and “Academy.” All of the spaces feature bright wall murals specific to their use, and all are seamlessly connected for easy access. The timber-clad Nest greets pedestrians as they enter the center, and garden walkways lead out to the rest of the buildings. In addition to making the structure all-inclusive, WOHA used a number of upcycled materials throughout the building. Pre-cast concrete pipes were installed as sitting and reading nooks, old sea containers were used as bridges, and recycled oil drums have been repurposed as large planters. The architects have become known for their love of greenery , and it shows in the Enabling Village’s serene landscaping and water gardens, which were planted with a variety of native species. To bring visitors closer to nature, there are plenty of peaceful walkways, verandas and cabanas that look out over the adjacent pond. Thanks to its impressive array of all-inclusive features, the Enabling Village was awarded the Platinum BCA Universal Design Mark Award in May, 2016. + WOHA + Enabling Village Via Archdaily Photography by Patrick Bingham-Hall and Edward Hendricks

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New lush green "ground floor" to welcome Tel Aviv University students by 2019

September 14, 2016 by  
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The split level design of the Lorry Lokey building integrates nature in a number of inventive ways. As the outdoor ‘ground floor’ serves as a shaded, verdant connection hub between buildings, this open plan will also maximize ventilation from Mediterranean prevailing winds. As cool air currents enter the ground level they will pass through the raised mass and up its internal patios, creating a natural cooling effect . RELATED: Israel’s greenest building produces more energy than it consumes While the upper floors of Lorry Lokey will house offices with mountainous views, the lower floors will be reserved for large classrooms, the auditorium, and additional study spaces accessible from both the landscaped ground floor and gardens. The lush ground level will serve as an interconnection between adjacent buildings, a meeting hub and “watering hole,” boasting a café/canteen for the entire campus to utilize. This integration of the landscape not only reduces the overall massing of the building, but also encourages students to be more in touch with their natural surroundings. Beneath the ground floor will be two partially underground levels that are completely thermally insulated and filled with the natural light from sunken courtyards and skylights. The strategically low position of these floors prevents harsh direct sunlight from entering the building. When some air conditioning is required in Israel’s most hot and humid summer months, a large field of solar panels on the green roof will help to compensate for those energy needs. Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture plans to complete the Lorry Lokey building by 2019. + Gottesman-Szmelcman Architecture

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New lush green "ground floor" to welcome Tel Aviv University students by 2019

Revamped NYC rooftop is brought to life with tinted resin panels

July 1, 2016 by  
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Evan C. Lai Landscape Design (ECLLD) designed this green rooftop above a gritty East Village townhouse in Manhattan. The 400sf space was maximized with an extensive green roof, neutral stone, and tinted resin panels. In the lounge the green resin transforms a skylight into a glow-in-the-dark daybed; in the foyer it casts a semi-translucent shade over an exterior shower and sauna; by the bar it adds a concentrated brushstroke across walls and benches. The design is topped off with a green roof above the sauna that improves insulation and water runoff. + Evan C. Lai Landscape Design The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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A contemporary Mexican residence built around a ‘forest of red oaks’

April 7, 2016 by  
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Venezuelans are getting Fridays off to battle an energy crisis

April 7, 2016 by  
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Venezuelans are getting a three-day weekend every week for the next two months, but they aren’t as excited as you might expect. The measure doesn’t signal a burst of employer generosity, but an encroaching energy crisis resulting from an extended drought . Sixty per cent of the country’s electricity is derived from hydroelectric stations, which, of course, rely on water to keep them afloat. Read the rest of Venezuelans are getting Fridays off to battle an energy crisis

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