Frank Gehry tops Facebook HQ expansion with a 3.6-acre rooftop park

September 19, 2018 by  
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Facebook recently unveiled a peek inside MPK 21, its newest campus building designed by Frank Gehry and built in less than 18 months. Created as an extension to its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, this striking addition blurs the distinction between the indoors and outdoors with its massive walls of glass, sheltered courtyard and expansive 3.6-acre rooftop garden — named The Town Square — planted with 40-foot-tall redwood trees. In addition to its abundance of plant life, the building is also designed to meet green standards and is expected to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Located on a formerly unoccupied industrial site, MPK 21 connects to MPK 20 — another Facebook building also designed by Frank Gehry that opened in 2015 — via an amphitheater -style courtyard called The Bowl. The building houses offices with open workspaces, designed to promote collaboration between teams, as well as quiet areas for focused work. Employees traverse the length of the building with a single walkway, which also connects to five dining areas and a 2,000-person event and meeting space with state-of-the-art A/V technology. Artists from Facebook’s Artist in Residence Program were commissioned to create 15 art installations for MPK 21. “The building was designed to promote teamwork and allow our people to do their best work,” said John Tenanes, Facebook’s VP of Global Facilities and Real Estate, in a press release. “MPK 21 is designed to reduce impact on the environment and enhance employee well-being. The building encourages active engagement inside and outside of the building with pedestrian walkways, access to various outdoor areas, visible stairways and flexible work stations. The physical infrastructure is designed to reduce water, energy  and waste as well.” Related: Facebook signs Frank Gehry to design two more buildings for their California campus The LEED Platinum -targeted building is powered by 1.4 MW of photovoltaic solar roof tiles, which can generate nearly 2 million kWH of electricity a year. Approximately 17 million gallons of water will be saved annually thanks to a reclaimed water system, while the need for artificial lighting during daylight hours is minimized with an abundance of bird-friendly glazing. Facebook also enrolled in Peninsula Clean Energy’s ECO100 energy option to further reduce its carbon footprint. + Frank Gehry Via Dezeen Images via Facebook

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Frank Gehry tops Facebook HQ expansion with a 3.6-acre rooftop park

Coop launches fragrance that smells of old milk to combat food waste

September 19, 2018 by  
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Food waste is a major issue all around the world, but one Swedish company is doing something about it. Coop has officially launched an ‘Old Milk’ fragrance — which, yes, smells like spoiled milk — to urge citizens to rely on their sense of taste and smell rather than expiration dates when deciding whether to throw away outdated food. A study by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency shows that 30 percent of food waste in Sweden is still edible. It is estimated that most food waste in the world is from dairy products, tea and coffee. To combat wasting this amount of food, Coop, a popular grocery chain in the country, developed a spray that smells like spoiled milk. The hope is that the fragrance will encourage people to smell and taste food before tossing it out. Related: Mobile app Karma tackles food waste with discounted meals “With the fragrance Old Milk, we want to make people decrease their food waste at home by helping them understand the difference between drinkable and undrinkable milk,”  Anneli Bylund, the head of Coop’s sustainability division, explained. “Don’t be afraid to smell, taste and look at the food before you throw it out.” Another goal of the new fragrance is to teach Swedes not to rely solely on expiration dates. Coop hopes its product will educate citizens on how spoiled milk actually smells and encourage them to test all of the food in their households before tossing it in the bin. This is not the first time Coop has combated food waste. In previous years, the company has collaborated with organizations to extend food past the manufacturer’s recommended date. This includes working with organizations like Allwin and Whywaste to help distribute old food to nonprofits. Coop is also working with celebrity chef Paul Svensson to create better-tasting recipes for leftovers. Coop has taken home several awards for its contribution to sustainability in Sweden. This includes being named the most sustainable brand and the greenest company in 2018. The company is releasing free samples of the Old Milk fragrance on its official website . + Coop Images via Coop

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Coop launches fragrance that smells of old milk to combat food waste

Century-old Iowa warehouse is transformed into LEED Platinum offices

August 13, 2018 by  
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Des Moines-based Neumann Monson Architects has breathed new life into a historic industrial warehouse in Iowa by transforming the 117-year-old building into LEED Platinum multi-tenant offices. Commissioned by Blackbird Investments, this eco-friendly renovation not only involved salvaging and reusing original elements in the century-old building, but also inserting energy efficient systems including a combination of geothermal and solar that have helped the project achieve net-zero energy certification. Dubbed Market One, the thoughtfully restored structure has sparked greater revitalization in the surrounding industrial neighborhood and is the state’s first commercial building to produce more energy than it consumes. Completed in 2015, Market One comprises 55,000 square feet of renovated warehouse space in addition to 1,887 square feet of added construction. Originally built in 1901 as the offices and manufacturing center for the Advance-Rumely Thresher Company, the warehouse comprises three main floors as well as a basement. While renovating the building, Neumann Monson Architects also added a rooftop office and deck. The block immediately east of the building was converted into a surface parking lot with an overhead photovoltaic canopy. Related: LEED Platinum housing for the homeless takes over a formerly vacant L.A. lot “The project achieves a rich, nuanced dialogue between new and old,” Neumann Monson Architects said. “In some locations, the two are carefully delineated. In others, modern interventions blend in and take a backseat to historic character. Throughout the building, transparency and compatible finishes allow space to flow freely. To maintain the large volumes’ spatial continuity, the design locates new enclosed areas at the building’s core and terminates their walls well below the ceiling plane. Extensive glass and polycarbonate interior partitions allow light penetration deep into the building and maintain open visual connection throughout each floor level.” Local, sustainable and durable materials were used throughout Market One. A planned green belt and pedestrian trail will soon be added to the north of the building and a new Amtrak station will also be added in the future. + Neumann Monson Architects Via Dezeen Images via Cameron Campbell

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Century-old Iowa warehouse is transformed into LEED Platinum offices

LEED Platinum housing for the homeless takes over a formerly vacant L.A. lot

July 6, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based design practice Michael Maltzan Architecture  has transformed a vacant suburban lot into the Crest Apartments, a LEED Platinum -certified permanent supportive housing center that assists homeless individuals and veterans. Commissioned by the Skid Row Housing Trust, this striking light-filled property promotes healthy lifestyles with its inviting, community-focused design. In addition to serving the homeless, the 45,000-square-foot development also offers major benefits to the local community and environment with its stormwater management system that captures and treats over 90 percent of the site’s rainwater runoff. Located in Los Angeles’ Van Nuys neighborhood, the $23.6-million Crest Apartments building consists of 64 units, half of which are allocated for homeless veterans. Also included are supportive services and community space for residents such as the social services offices, a communal kitchen, laundry room, conference room, residents’ lounge and an outdoor community garden. The building was constructed with a prefabricated timber frame constructed by CTF California TrusFrame and clad with LaHambra Integral Color Plaster. To let in natural light and views of the city, the architects punctuated the white exterior with aluminum-framed Arcadia windows and glazed sliding doors. The Suniva Optimus Series Monocrystalline solar modules and Heliodyne solar thermal collectors help offset the building’s electricity needs. “The building’s arching form stretches the length of the site, creating a sheltered courtyard with four residential floors above,” says Michael Maltzan Architecture. “The low points of the building touch down at both the front and back of the site, creating a physical relationship to the smaller-scale single-family residences to the south, and the commercial facades to the north. The lobby and reception are positioned at the front to welcome residents and visitors and activate the street. Inviting, light-filled spaces throughout the building form a network of healthy community connections that support residents.” Related: Michael Maltzan’s Prefab Star Apartments in Downtown LA Residents at the Crest Apartments also enjoy access to a landscape of native , drought-resistant plantings that form a self-sustaining ecosystem supportive of a variety of uses. The low-irrigation landscape is also fitted out with two bioswales , infiltration trenches and permeable paving to manage almost all of the building’s stormwater runoff on-site. + Michael Maltzan Architecture Images via Iwan Baan

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LEED Platinum housing for the homeless takes over a formerly vacant L.A. lot

Red List expands to 26,000 endangered species

July 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese earthworms, the Mauritian flying fox and the Bankoualé Palm are joining over 26,000 species categorized as “endangered.” The latest International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) Red List report  now identifies 26,197 plants and animals facing extinction, out of 93,557 facing serious environmental threats around the world. Australia’s reptile population possibly faces the most threats of all species. 975 reptiles native to the island — nearly every cold-blooded animal living there — have joined the list. In addition, seven percent of those are threatened with extinction due to changing environmental factors , including invasive species and climate change. Estimates from ICUN blame 600 million reptile deaths on feral cats, while a one-degree temperature change could cut the Bartle Frere cool-skink population by half over 30 years. Related: Conservationists sound alarm over US House bill that weakens Endangered Species Act While Australia is facing a mass extinction of reptiles, other areas across Asia could lose species over time. The Mauritian flying fox, an important pollinating species on Mauritius and Réunion, was also added to the endangered species list. Deforestation , cyclones, poaching and death from power lines have significantly reduced the population. In Japan, three species of earthworms were also added to the Red List and face extinction. Nuclear fallout from both World War II and the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, combined with over-farming and city growth, are threatening the species. Animals also aren’t the only species that face extinction before the century’s end. The Bankoualé palm, a plant native to Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen, may also be relegated to textbooks. Between deforestation, drought , destruction from farming and water redirection, the palm could disappear entirely from Yemen first, leaving the Horn of Africa as its only remaining habitat. Although the outlook is grim for the newly endangered species , all hope is not lost. The ICUN is actively working with local populations to ensure both plants and animals can continue to thrive for generations. In Mauritius, a task force is working with farmers to protect crops and orchards with nets and other deterrents, reducing the need for population culling. Via ICUN

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Red List expands to 26,000 endangered species

LEED Platinum fire station boosts firefighter wellness in Seattle

May 16, 2018 by  
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Firefighting is consistently ranked one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S. — which is why the well-being of firefighters becomes all the more important in architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson’s design of Seattle Fire Station 32. Located in the heart of the Alaska Junction neighborhood in West Seattle, the 18,000-square-foot fire station boasts a handsome and modern appearance that not only enhances firefighters’ wellness, but also welcomes the community. The fire station , completed last year, is crafted to be highly energy efficient, and it recently achieved LEED Platinum certification. Filled with natural light and optimized for scenic views, Seattle Fire Station 32 is set in the heart of the neighborhood at the threshold between single-family residential areas and a denser commercial zone. To mitigate the site’s small size, the architects built upward, resulting in a four-story building with a basement. The building engages the civic arena with public areas that are visible from the street, such as the beanery and station office. The entrance of the office is marked by a 25-foot-tall wall-mounted fire truck sculpture . A 59-foot-long ladder truck and the firefighters’ activities are also put on full display behind a glazed end wall along Alaska Street. Related: Seattle’s Firestation 30 is a Copper-Clad Green Community Beacon Private bunk rooms and individual offices are tucked along the quiet residential-facing side of the building. The operational and administrative areas are housed on the lower floors, while the firefighters’ living spaces are located on the third floor. This floor opens up to an outdoor terrace overlooking the green roof . “The hose drying tower acts as a visual marker for the station between the southern residential hillside and tall mixed-use buildings to the north,” the architects wrote. “With a subtle lantern effect at night, the tower acts as a beacon of safety for residents and visitors.” The project was awarded a 2018 Green GOOD DESIGN Award , and earned LEED Platinum certification this month. + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Images by Nic Lehoux

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LEED Platinum fire station boosts firefighter wellness in Seattle

Bold, monolithic stone home in India reveals its secret gardens

May 15, 2018 by  
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Mumbai-based Spasm Design recently unveiled a bold, monolithic home made from Dhrangadhra stone. The House of Secret Gardens features a cross-shaped layout with various access points to the exterior spaces, which feature vibrant greenery and an elevated rooftop garden . Dhrangadhra stone is a common building material in Ahmedabad that has been used for centuries due to its strong insulative qualities. The stone, which is found in local quarries, keeps homes warm in the winter months and cool during the searing hot summers. Additionally, the stone walls and floors help reduce reflected glare on the interior. Related: This home is a small timber cottage on the inside and an automated concrete monolith on the outside The living space is located in the center of the home. From there, multiple walkways lead to other rooms, including the kitchen, office and bedrooms. The architects used the unique layout to connect the home to its surroundings and installed transparent walls and open spaces to provide access to the outdoors. The result is a breezy home that seamlessly links to the outdoors. Several cutouts and windows throughout the home allow for optimal air ventilation. Because the light in Ahmedabad can be harsh, slatted skylights were included to filter in the sunlight . The interior rooms are clad in lime plaster with a texture similar to the exterior Dhrangadhra stone walls. The monolithic aesthetic is accented with timber statement walls and timber-clad ceilings. An abundance of courtyards and gardens add greenery while aiding the home’s passive climate control . Air moves through the courtyards and into the interiors, cooling off the living spaces. Several passages lead to the lush courtyards. Designed to mature over the years, the green lawn is decorated with trees and bushes. The home also features an extended pond and a stairwell that leads up to the impressive rooftop garden . + Spasm Design Via Archdaily Photography by Umang Shah , Photographix , Edmund Sumner via Spasm Design

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Bold, monolithic stone home in India reveals its secret gardens

Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico

May 15, 2018 by  
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Architects Fernanda Canales and Claudia Rodriguez completed a unique weekend home that consists of nine pavilion-like volumes, each carefully positioned for optimal views. Located in a rural site just a few hours outside Mexico City , the 6,500-square-foot holiday retreat — named Casa Bruma — was designed as a series of boxes in order to sidestep the removal of existing trees. To soften the look of the concrete, the architects darkened the facades with a black pigment and topped most of the units with gardens. Casa Bruma features nine volumes of varying heights — corresponding to topographic conditions and spatial hierarchy — clustered around a central stone-paved courtyard . “This design solution was born out of the need to respect every existing tree on the site and to provide every space with sunlight both during the morning and the afternoon,” the architects explained. “The result is an ‘exploded house,’ where the dwelling is composed of isolated volumes that are placed according to the views, the orientations and the existing vegetation.” Walkways connect the main buildings, which house the kitchen, dining room, living room, master bedroom and children’s bedroom. The two guest bedrooms and the garage are located in the remaining units on the other side of the courtyard. The living room and one of guest rooms also open up to outdoor roof terraces . Related: A lush rooftop oasis flourishes on this renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City The minimalist design uses only five materials: black concrete , wood, stone, metal and glass. The natural materials palette and subdued colors give the home a “timeless character” and help the buildings recede into the landscape. Throughout the site, the element of surprise is a common theme, starting with a semi-hidden path at the entrance that gradually reveals glimpses of the courtyard. + Fernanda Canales Via Dezeen Images by Rafael Gamo

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Casa Bruma’s blackened concrete pavilions create a serene retreat in Mexico

Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it

February 5, 2018 by  
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What if a home could improve the environment around it? That’s the question architect Michelle Lanker of Lanker Design LLC and her ecologist husband Bill Bloxom put to the test when they designed their new getaway—a floating home docked on Washington’s Lake Union that’s not only net-zero and certified LEED Platinum, but also improves water quality and biodiversity. Dubbed Houseboat H, this stunning sustainable home boasts a bevy of eco-friendly elements from material choices and renewable energy sources to its use of floating islands to create new aquatic habitats. Sustainability and symbiosis are at the heart of Houseboat H. Powered by solar and designed for minimal energy use, this net-zero home floats above a series of floating islands specially designed to improve water quality. Buoyant planters made of recycled plastic house native plants that form root systems to purify the water and encourage fish habitats. The growing aquatic habitats can be observed from a large window in the basement float of the home. In addition to the recycled plastics in the planters, thoughtful material choice can be seen throughout the home, most notably in the old-growth cedar logs used in the interior that were salvaged from Michelle and Bill’s original, century-old houseboat destroyed in a fire. Durable materials were carefully selected, like the plastic laminate for the cabinets and counters as well as the cement fiberboard for exterior cladding. The use of cedar and bamboo in the home lend a sense of warmth to the light-filled interior. Related: Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home Natural lighting and beautiful Seattle skyline views are welcomed indoors through large triple-glazed windows that often span floor to ceiling. To minimize energy loss, the walls and roof are filled with spray foam insulation at maximum insulation thicknesses. A small green roof also aids in insulation. A 5.43-kW solar array attached to the standing seam metal roof powers the home’s LED fixtures, low-energy appliances, and water heater (with a 80 gallon storage tank) for the hydronic radiant floor system. A heat exchanger is also installed to collect heat from the lake. + Lanker Design LLC Images via Lanker Design LLC

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Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it

Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

October 19, 2017 by  
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The LEED Platinum -certified Noe Hill Smart Ecohome marries state-of-the-art green technology and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle that urban dwellers dream about. The house, designed by EAG Studio , creates a healthy living environment with plenty of natural light, native plant gardens, rain catchment, solar power and a bevy of smart features to optimize power use. The house occupies a coveted site near the crest of the Collingwood hill in San Francisco . It spans three levels and comprises 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths (with 3 bedrooms ensuite on the upper floor), media room, gym, flexible use 2-room guest suite, an open main level floor plan, 4 distinct outdoor living areas and 2-car independent parking. Related: Sunset’s Green Dream Home in San Francisco The dramatic vistas open up from the main living room and dining area connected to a sunny deck and a landscaped garden. The garden features drought-tolerant , native plantings. Retractable glass doors in the kitchen open directly to the deck and enhances the experience of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. A sculptural staircase leads to the upper level and receives natural light from the skylight above. The bedrooms occupy the upper floor, with the luxurious master suite openning to its own view deck ideal for a morning cup of coffee or casual lounging. The staircase leads further up toward the roof deck with multiple dining and lounging areas perfect for entertaining guests. Related: San Francisco’s Solar “Mission: House” is a High-Tech Marvel A rainwater harvesting system captures most of the roof/surface water for landscaping irrigation. All exterior walls are insulated and optimized for energy efficiency, while a solar array provides renewable energy for the building. These systems, along with LED lighting , occupancy sensors and the use of reclaimed building materials make this building a modern and truly eco-friendly home. + Noe Hill Leed Home + EAG Studio

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Solar-powered Noe Hill Smarthome is an eco-friendly dream in San Francisco

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