BIGs LEED Gold-seeking school in Arlington features a cascade of green terraces

November 14, 2019 by  
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After five years in the making, BIG has completed The Heights, a new public school building in Arlington, Virginia that not only offers a unique and energy-efficient take on school architecture, but also helps maximize density and open space. Located along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, The Heights combines two existing secondary schools into a new 180,000-square-foot building that opens like a fan with a cascade of green-roofed terraces to provide an indoor-outdoor learning landscape. An emphasis on natural daylighting, green space, material reuse and energy efficiency has put the building on track to achieve LEED Gold certification . Completed on a $100 million budget, the dynamic new school building houses two programs: the H-B Woodlawn Program that offers visual and performing arts-focused curricula for grades 6 through 12, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program that serves students aged 11 to 22 with special needs. The school can accommodate an expected enrollment of up to 775 students. Related: Rammed earth Kopila Valley School is the “greenest school in Nepal” To make the most of a compact urban site bounded by roads on three sides, BIG organized the school as a stack of five rectangular floorplates rotated around a fixed pivot point to create a series of outdoor green-roofed terraces connected with a rotating central staircase. The spacious first terrace can be used for special events while the upper terraces are more suitable as classroom and study areas. The classroom “bars” have also informed the interior layout, which is anchored by a central vertical core containing the elevators, stairs and bathrooms as well as a triple-height lobby with stepped seating on the ground floor. For easy accessibility and to encourage public interaction throughout the school, the lobby is directly adjacent to many of the school’s common spaces, such as the 400-seat auditorium , main gymnasium, library, reception and cafeteria. Intuitive wayfinding is also extended to the classroom spaces in that each classroom “bar” is defined by its own color used to paint the walls and lockers. In contrast to its colorful interior, The Heights’ exterior is clad in white glazed brick to unify its fanned-out massing and to respect the surroundings, including the historic architecture of Old Town Alexandria. Select materials from the former Wilson School, which The Heights was built to replace, have been salvaged and reused in the new build. + BIG Photography by Laurian Ghinitoiu via BIG

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BIGs LEED Gold-seeking school in Arlington features a cascade of green terraces

Controversial climate change-inspired skyscraper could become Czech Republics tallest building

October 18, 2019 by  
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Inspired by the apocalyptic imagery from climate change projections, sculptor David ?erný and architect Tomáš Císa? from the studio Black n´ Arch have proposed a visually striking skyscraper that’s sparked controversy with its inclusion of an enormous shipwreck-like structure. Dubbed the TOP TOWER , the project proposed for Prague rises to a height of 450 feet, which means that if built, the tower would be the tallest building in the Czech Republic. The project is led by developer Trigema who aims to create a multifunctional, LEED Gold high-rise that includes rental apartments, a public observation area and commercial uses on the lower floors. TOP TOWER has been proposed to be located near the metro station Nové Butovice on the new nearly one-kilometer-long pedestrian zone in Prague. This location is outside of the protected urban conservation zone and would be far enough away from the city center that it would not disrupt the historic city skyline. Taking advantage of its height, the building would offer a public observation area at the highest point of the building where visitors can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of Prague .  Rental housing will make up the majority of the mixed-use TOP TOWER, while offices, retail and a multifunctional cultural center will be located on the lower levels. Parking will be tucked underground. The rusty shipwreck-like sculpture integrated into the building will offer opportunities for outdoor spaces and additional landscaping. Related: Computer modeling informed the whimsical design of this experimental home “We have been preparing the TOP TOWER project for more than two years and the final version was preceded by eight other alternative solutions. During this time, we have collected and are still collecting suggestions from experts, state and local authorities, and of course the local public, whose representatives have already been and will continue to hold a number of participatory meetings,” says Marcel Soural, Chairman of the Board of Trigema a.s. Trigema estimates that the construction for TOP TOWER will begin in 2021 and take less than three years complete.  + TOP TOWER Images via Trigema

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Controversial climate change-inspired skyscraper could become Czech Republics tallest building

LEED Gold-seeking wildlife center emphasizes energy conservation in Quebec

October 1, 2019 by  
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The Canadian city of Laval in southwestern Quebec has recently gained a new wildlife interpretation center with an impressive, energy-efficient design. It’s the first of its kind in the city and is targeting LEED NC v3 Gold certification . Designed by Montreal-based architecture firm Cardin Julien , the $11.5 million project provides a new community and educational resource for visitors to Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, an urban wildlife sanctuary that spans 26 hectares rich with recreational opportunities including kayaking, canoeing and island hiking. Completed October 2018, the Parc de la Rivière-des-Mille-Îles exploration center features a main building with three floors. The ground floor houses a large multipurpose hall with a cafe and reception area framing views of the river through full-height glazing as well as museum programming and a monitoring room for conferences and events. The equipment rental space, locker room, ecology laboratory, researchers’ offices and day camp facilities are placed on the lower “river” level. The uppermost floor comprises an employee relaxation area and a flexible multipurpose room that can be partitioned into three sections. Related: Minimalist TRIPTYCH house pulls the Quebec outdoors in “In order for the project to integrate seamlessly into its environment, the use of wood was recommended for the building’s exterior,” reads the press release. “This material, which can also be found inside the building, fosters a warm environment and allows a connection between visitors and the nature around them. In addition, the structure was built in such a way that it preserves the mature trees growing onsite.” The project also includes a new parking pad, bike path, pedestrian walkways and landscaping as well as a new workshop and equipment distribution kiosk housed in a renovated stable. The main building is topped with a green roof as part of the project’s water conservation strategy that includes rainwater recycling. A high-performance building envelope and strategically placed windows and roof overhangs help contribute to energy savings and visitor comfort. + Cardin Julien Photography by David Boyer via Cardin Julien

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LEED Gold house reveals maritime charms

July 4, 2019 by  
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When a family with a love for boating purchased property on the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Maryland, they turned to New York-based Bates Masi + Architects to bring their maritime home to life. To reinforce connections with the waterfront, the architects crafted a home that combines contemporary elements with rugged and locally sourced materials to reference the working harbor. The residence, named the Acton Cove House, also boasts a high-performance structure and sustainable features that earned the project LEED Gold certification. Located just steps from the water in downtown Annapolis, the Acton Cove House replaces a 1970s house that came with the property. During demolition of the previous house, the architects discovered layer upon layer of old bulkheads and fill that showed how former owners had expanded the site into the harbor. The layered construction became a major inspiration for the design of the new house, which layers modern insulation, glazing and building systems together with a series of traditional materials. Related: Northwest Maritime Center Achieves LEED Gold Certification “The new design configures layers of site features and envelope elements to provide privacy and weather protection, while encouraging connections to the outdoors,” explain the architects in a project statement. “The materials of the various layers reflect the character of the working harbor. Weathering steel planters reference sheet pilings. 3×14 reclaimed heart pine siding is reminiscent of heavy timber bulkheads. Oversize silicone bronze screws, left exposed to fasten the siding, are pulled from the ship building industry. Woven rope and sailcloth details draw on local crafts.” The layering effect begins with the bulkhead, which is covered with a new ipe boardwalk punctuated with stepped weathering steel planters. Ipe reappears as fixed screens on the facade of the house, protected by deep overhangs, cantilevered decks and balconies, as well as operable canvas drapes that can be pulled along a continuous track that wraps the entire perimeter to provide privacy. The full-height glass doors are also operable and pocket into the walls to blur indoor and outdoor living. The last layers of operable screening include interior linen drapes and roll shades. + Bates Masi + Architects Images by Michael Moran

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LEED Gold house reveals maritime charms

LEED Gold home celebrates Utah’s brilliant light and beauty

September 28, 2018 by  
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Designed to “celebrate Utah’s brilliant light and raw beauty,” this LEED Gold -certified family home in Utah embraces indoor-outdoor living. Salt Lake City-based Sparano + Mooney Architecture crafted the home for clients who sought the perfect mountain home in Park City, Utah. Working in step with interior designer Julie Chahine of J Squared interior design and clients who had a clear idea of what they wanted, the architects pulled together a sustainable and contemporary dwelling that works in concert with the landscape inside and out. Perched at a high elevation overlooking views of Park City and the Utah Winter Olympic Park, the two-story Park City Modern Residence was designed with a sensitive approach to the landscape. The site-specific design and division of the public areas from the private zones were informed by the existing topography. Outdoor terraces offer a seamless connection to the outdoors with immediate access from the master suite and living room; an accessible green roof planted with native flora also offers stellar views of a nearby golf course. To relate the home to the mountain environment punctuated by highly textured scrub oak, the architects employed a nature-inspired material palette mainly comprising cedar wood, glass and board-formed concrete. “These were inspired through a study of transparency, minimalism and serenity,” the architecture firm noted in a project statement. “The architecture and interiors are speaking the same language — the details, color schemes and artwork — all worked so perfectly with the architecture. Julie’s palette came from nature, and our materiality did too.” Related: A historic farmhouse is transformed into a modern home with a green roof Certified LEED Gold, the 5,500-square-foot abode draws renewable energy from a ground-source heat pump and keeps its energy demands low with high performance, energy-efficient building systems. Passive solar orientation also helps the home keep comfortably cool in the summer months and retains heat and access to natural light in winter. + Sparano + Mooney Architecture Images by Derek Israelsen

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Modern LEED Gold home embraces outdoor entertaining in Aspen

August 7, 2018 by  
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Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood is best known for its ornate Victorian houses, but one residence in particular is turning heads for its modern, award-winning design and LEED Gold certification. Local firm Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design designed the ground-up home — dubbed “Game On” — that splits a historic landmark lot with a neighboring late-19th-century home. The new residence incorporates environmentally friendly and energy-efficient features throughout, from its solar roof tiles on the garage to its sustainably harvested materials palette. Constructed with a traditional gabled form and front porch that mirrors the surrounding architecture, Game On stands out from its neighbors with its clean lines and white-painted exterior. The 4,291-square-foot abode’s contextual design earned approval from Aspen’s Historic Preservation Commission. The minimal design approach carries over to the restrained landscaping as well. “Inspired by the residential vernacular of Aspen’s historic West End neighborhood, this home brings a sense of clarity and elegance to a traditionally ornate Victorian form,” the architecture firm said. “With the clients’ personal and professional lifestyle in mind, the design is intended to accommodate a large number of guests for entertaining yet provides a sense of intimacy for private relaxation. The open plan connects the indoor and outdoor spaces with seamless lift and slide pocket doors. Interiors feature custom built-in and floating furnishings and custom fixtures.” Related: Solar-powered mountain home is a sustainable prototype for Aspen development In additional to solar roof tiles , Game On minimizes its energy footprint with a highly efficient mechanical system, radiant in-slab heating and heat loss control. The sustainable water strategy includes high-efficiency fixtures and an irrigation system as well as a bocce ball court in the backyard that collects and filters all stormwater runoff. The interior is dressed in natural and recycled materials with no VOC paints for a healthy indoor environment. + Rowland + Broughton Architecture & Interior Design Images via Brent Moss Photography

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The LEED Gold-seeking Edible Academy teaches urban farming in NYC

June 29, 2018 by  
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New York-based architecture firm Cooper Robertson recently completed the latest addition to the New York Botanical Garden  in the Bronx — the Edible Academy, a new LEED Gold -seeking facility that will teach the greater community about sustainable agriculture, healthy eating and the environment. Created as an expansion of the New York Botanical Garden’s Children’s Gardening Program founded in 1956, the $28 million state-of-the-art development covers three acres on the grounds of the existing Ruth Rea Howell Vegetable Garden. The facilities offer a wide array of programming as well as many sustainable features such as vegetated green roofs, composting toilets and geothermal heating and cooling. Opened earlier this month, the Edible Academy serves as a year-round teaching center that celebrates New York’s native landscapes. The campus comprises a collection of gabled structures that blur the distinction between indoors and out. The structures are positioned to frame views from the city’s largest uncut expanse of old growth forest to the Bronx River and its waterfall. The buildings were placed around the teaching and display gardens with the re-imagined Ruth Rea Howell Vegetable Garden taking up a sizable portion of the campus. New gardens include the Meadow Garden with native perennial shrubs and herbaceous plants experienced through winding paths as well as the Barnsley Beds, a formal vegetable garden with ornament plantings, arranged around the Event Lawn. The 5,300-square-foot green-roofed Classroom Building serves as the heart of the Edible Academy and boasts a child-friendly demonstration kitchen and technology lab. A connecting greenhouse doubles as a teaching space and a potting and propagation area. Outdoor lessons can be held in the shade under the Solar Pavilion, named after its rooftop solar panels, as well as in the 350-seat outdoor amphitheater carved from the site’s natural topography. Related: Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food “With its combination of inventive and flexible spaces for gardening programs, classes and outdoor events, the Edible Academy offers a strong design framework for addressing the 21st-century needs and interests of schools, families and the public,” said Bruce Davis, AIA, LEED AP, a partner with Cooper Robertson. “With this dedicated three-acre facility, the Edible Academy also provides an innovative national model for other institutions and schools expanding their garden -based education programs.” + Cooper Robertson Images by Marlon Co / The New York Botanical Garden and Robert Benson Photography

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Henning Larsen Architects brings sustainable Scandinavian design to Minneapolis

May 30, 2018 by  
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Henning Larsen Architects and MSR Design  unveiled their competition-winning designs for Minneapolis’ New Public Service Building — a municipal building that will integrate the Scandinavian ethos with sustainable design. Located across from Minneapolis City Hall, the multi-purpose structure is envisioned as the city’s new face of public service and will offer healthy work spaces for city employees as well as public areas. The building is designed with the hopes of achieving  LEED Gold certification. Expected to include 250,000 to 300,000 square feet of interior space, the New Public Service Building will accommodate hundreds of employees. The project draws inspiration from the abundance of greenery and parks in Minneapolis by incorporating a public landscaped plaza. The green, open space will not only reinforce the new building’s connection to the adjacent City Hall but will also help activate the street level. To minimize energy demands, the architects used climatic simulations and analysis to determine the massing and orientation of the building. “It will truly be a building for everybody,” Henning Larsen Architects said in a statement . “As an urban gesture, the scheme invites the public into the building by placing extroverted and public functions towards Government Plaza. The design approach, influenced by our Scandinavian ethos, focuses on creating collaborative and innovative work spaces, integrated sustainability and highlighting daylight as a human right and contributor to a healthy workplace .” Related: The 2018 Super Bowl stadium in Minnesota offsets 100% of its energy The interior design of the seven to 10-story building encourages collaboration through open stair connections and shared spaces. An optimized facade system will help modulate the amount of natural light in the building, while indoor plants and a natural materials palette will promote employee well-being. Minneapolis’ New Public Service Building is slated for completion by the fall of 2020. + Henning Larsen Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Henning Larsen Architects

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Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

May 16, 2018 by  
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When Arno Matis Architecture was tapped to help reshape the identity of Vancouver’s Cambie Street, they designed Aperture, a beautiful site-responsive residential development. The city-block-sized structure derives its name from its striking aperture-like openings with glass-and-wood veneer walls angled in response to each facade’s unique solar exposure. Built to LEED Gold specifications, Aperture maximizes passive shading and is topped with green roofs. Created using Arno Matis Architecture’s “Responsive Density Design” strategy, Aperture emphasizes “social porosity” and urban connections. In response to the site context, the 98,000-square-foot building steps down from two six-story mid-rise blocks located along a busy street down to four two-story villas more in scale to the single-family neighborhood in the north. Two courtyard axes bisect the development to allow for the penetration of natural light and mountain views. Related: LEED Gold UBC Aquatic Center takes an innovative approach to water recycling “Stratigraphic architectural themes echo the area’s mid-century modern architectural vocabulary,” wrote the architects. “ Cantilever decks and strong horizontal lines create a sense of lightness and lower the massing profile.” The angled walls that frame each aperture, made of mahogany veneer sandwiched between two encapsulated UV glass layers, lend the building a sense of warmth. The insulated glass also increases thermal resistance and reduces solar gain. + Arno Matis Architecture Images © Michael Elkan

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Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

May 16, 2018 by  
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When Singaporean artist and founder of Rehyphen®  Jessica Chuan Yi Xin stumbled upon a stash of forgotten cassette tapes in her room, she brainstormed a way to reuse the material rather than contribute to the growing problem of e-waste. A bit of ingenuity and experimentation led her to develop MusicCloth®, a handwoven textile made from upcycled magnetic tapes. According to the United Nations , nearly 45 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated in 2016 — an increase of 8 percent from just two years prior. As an advocate for the environment, Chuan created MusicCloth® to raise awareness for upcycling and the global problem of e-waste. Chuan developed the innovative textile after nine months of research and development using cassette tapes donated by friends and family. In 2016, she launched a successful  Kickstarter  campaign for MusicCloth® tote bags. The campaign not only raised the funds needed to take the project to the next level, but it also allowed her to collect cassette tapes from donors around the world. Chuan weaves MusicCloth® by hand in a simple yet labor-intensive process. In addition to tote bags, the malleable material has been used to create art , wallets, notebooks and dresses. Chuan and her team at Rehyphen® also expanded to offer workshops through Airbnb’s “Experiences” platform to teach visitors in Singapore how to weave MusicCloth® creations. The globally recognized textile has even found a place in New York City’s Material ConneXion library and has also been recognized by the University of Pennsylvania and Red Dot 21. The material was recently entered in the Golden Pin Design Award’s new Integration Design category. Related: This jewelry is made with upcycled gold from Dell computers “We hope to encourage people to see waste with fresh perspective, and get curious about how things are made,” Chuan said. “We throw things away for they are broken, no longer useful or having lost their charm. We, however, elevate everyday objects to a work of art, and to show that up-cycling art is not an environment movement but instead is a reminder that observing the other side of existence is the essence of art.” + Rehyphen® Images via Rehyphen®

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Artist upcycles discarded cassette tapes into eco-friendly MusicCloth

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