Twin timber buildings draw inspiration from traditional Japanese shrines

April 1, 2019 by  
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Local architectural firm Yuji Tanabe Architects recently completed twin timber buildings on a historic street in the Japanese city of Kamakura. In deference to the existing street architecture and the city’s Great Buddha landmark, the buildings feature a double roof facade with proportions inspired by traditional Japanese shrines. The project, dubbed SASAMEZA, is built of locally sourced timber to reduce embodied energy. Built for commercial use, SASAMEZA occupies a commercial block facing Yuigahama Street, a major transit corridor that connects central Kamakura to the iconic Great Buddha statue. Because the developers wanted the option to divide and sell the site once construction was complete, the architects split the property and created two buildings around a central courtyard . Each building is approximately 970 square feet in size, and they are near mirror images of one another. Due to the nature of the plot, the building on the right has a slightly different shape. “By taking the water under the roof slope of each building on both sides, it creates a sense of unity like a single building,” the architects explained. “In addition, by setting the opening parts across the passage and the court in the same position on the plane, the connection and the spread to the next wing are created. With the visualization of the structural material (offset column + double beams) in the interior space, the aim is to maintain a sense of unity in the entire building even if different tenants move in.” Related: An angular timber cabin is hidden inside an ancient mountain forest Designed with the environment in mind, the architects used timber procured from a mountain forest in Kanazawa Prefecture’s Hakone area. Along with the client, a forester and a builder, the architects visited the forest in person and selected and harvested the trees that would later become the columns and beams, all which are exposed and unpainted. Japanese wood joinery and fastening methods were applied so that the timber elements can be reused . + Yuji Tanabe Architects Images via Yuji Tanabe Architects

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Twin timber buildings draw inspiration from traditional Japanese shrines

EU moves forward with its plastic ban

April 1, 2019 by  
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The European Union is moving forward with its plastic ban initiative. The EU just signed off on a plan that will prohibit single-use plastics throughout participating countries by the year 2021. The law targets specific plastics while forcing companies to pay for any pollution their products may cause. “Today we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas,” the European Commission’s Frans Timmermans explained. “Europe is setting new and ambitious standards, paving the way for the rest of the world.” Related: EU proposes plan to ban 90 percent of microplastics According to EcoWatch , the new law will eliminate around 70 percent of the plastics that pollute oceans. Banned plastics include single-use cutlery, plates, straws, cotton swabs (that feature plastic sticks), polystyrene cups and oxo-degradable plastics. The plan also requires that companies use at least 25 percent of recycled materials in plastic bottles over the next six years. When it comes to paying for pollution , the law will require companies to help in the clean-up efforts related to their products. For example, cigarette businesses will have to pay to pick up butts that are carelessly thrown away, while companies that make fishing gear will be required to help fund the removal of plastic nets from the ocean. Lastly, the new initiative will force companies to create better labels for products that contain plastic . More specifically, the EU wants companies to better inform customers when their products include plastics, especially when it is harder to discern. The revised labels will also encourage people to recycle the items if necessary. The European Commission originally announced the ban back in the spring of 2018. With full backing from Parliament, the ban is expected to be completed and sent to member states soon. If the law is followed by all of the countries in the EU, experts hope that it will significantly curb ocean litter , which is largely made up of single-use plastics. The law should also save the EU around 22 billion euros by the year 2030. The EU hopes that its plastic ban will become a model for other countries around the world to follow. + European Parliament Via EcoWatch Image via Matthew Gollop

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Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes

March 5, 2018 by  
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Rather than elevate this coastal beach home on stilts, New York-based Raad Studio sought a more natural method to protect the building from floodwaters. The home, located in Sea Bright, New Jersey, is raised on artificial dunes planted with beach grasses, while stormwaters are safely channeled through an opening beneath the home. To further complement the surroundings, the Beach House was built with local maritime construction techniques and clad in locally sourced timber. Surrounded by stunning views, the Beach House is bookended on two sides by water with the Atlantic Ocean on one and the Navesink River on the other. “Our design team sought to balance an embrace of outdoor natural beauty while seeking to accommodate the site’s vulnerability to storms,” write Raad Studio. “The design solution that resulted is the marriage of landscape and architecture.” Taking inspiration from the dunes in the parkland to the north, the architects used a design by Dirtworks Landscape Architecture to create artificial dunes made from sand piled atop a concrete foundation and stabilized with beach grasses and other plants. “By restoring our idea of the original natural state to the site, we created a set of hydrodynamic dunes with penetrations that allow water to sluice through the land, while simultaneously elevating the house well above the historic high water mark,” wrote the architects. Related: This high-tech solar funnel allows plants to grow deep underground The modern Beach House is built to look like two stacked timber boxes wrapped in Alaskan yellow cedar and ample glazing that make the most of landscape views. A stairway descends down the dune to a pool deck. The light-filled interior is oriented around outdoor views with the common areas on the ground floor and two bedrooms and bathrooms on the upper level. + Raad Studio Via Dezeen Images via Raad Studio , by Robert Wright

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Stormwaters sweep beneath this coastal beach house raised above dunes

Ghost Barn built of locally felled timber glows like a lantern at night

March 31, 2017 by  
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With a name like Ghost Barn and a glowing, lantern-like appearance at night, this fiberglass-clad structure could easily be mistaken for a haunted hut. Rest assured, however, the building is actually a new model-making shed completed by British firm Invisible Studio in the woods of Bath. The architects designed the prototyping workshop using unseasoned spruce timber grown and milled on-site. Invisible Studio constructed Ghost Barn to complement their existing woodland studio and to serve as a space for full-scale model making. Built of locally sourced five-by-two timber planks in less than two weeks, the new prototyping workshop was an exercise in “constructional efficiency.” Minimal drawings were created before construction started to allow the build team to decide much of the design in an ad-hoc way, though the architects determined the materials and the overall farm shed -like appearance. Related: Super-local energy-efficient Caretaker’s House is built from locally grown and felled timber “The project is the first of a series of ‘equivalent’ projects that use same-section timber,” write the architects. “The project also relates to Piers Taylor’s PhD topic exploring contingencies that emerge through incorporating making in to design.” The mono-pitched Ghost Barn is clad in impact-resistant fiberglass and corrugated steel , materials that reference the local agricultural vernacular. The fiberglass walls allow natural light to pierce into the interior and give the building the appearance of a glowing lantern when lit at night. A large opening allows the designers to move large models and materials in and out of the building with ease. + Invisible Studio Via Dezeen Images via Invisible Studio

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Ghost Barn built of locally felled timber glows like a lantern at night

Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

March 20, 2017 by  
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The far reaches of northern Vietnam are beautiful but heartbreakingly poor. Children of the Hmong ethnic minority who live in the villages routinely suffer from lack of access to healthcare and education. Vietnamese architecture firm 1+1> 2 has provided a ray of hope for those in Lung Luong village in the remote Thai Nguyen Province with the construction of a beautiful new school made from local materials including rammed earth and bamboo. The school’s beautiful swooping and colorful form is an inspiration to the village and serves as a welcoming haven protected from the harsh elements. The Lung Luong elementary school is sited on a mountain peak and constructed to replace a poorly insulated structure that was piercingly cold in days of heavy rain and draught. Under the leadership of architect Hoang Thuc Hao, the villagers excavated part of the peak to create an even foundation. The excavated soil was recycled into rammed earth bricks used to build the school’s structure. The soil bricks’ thermal properties help maintain a temperate indoor climate year round. Locally sourced timber and bamboo were also used in construction and existing trees were protected during the building process. The elementary school is spread out across the mountaintop, covering an area of over 1,400 square meters. The orientation and placement of the buildings and the swooping colorful bamboo canopy above optimize natural lighting, ventilation, and sound insulation. The school comprises classrooms, playgrounds, gardens, multipurpose rooms, a medical room, library, kitchen, toilets, and dormitory. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier “The goal of this project is to create a school with conveniences striving against the harsh nature,” write the architects. “The classrooms are compatible with the mountain, spaces between them are slots which makes everything appears like an architectural picture pasted on the terrain. The corridor connects all functional areas. The foundation of the buildings respects the natural terrain which means that they wind up and down as the mountain path.” + 1+1> 2 Via ArchDaily Images © Son Vu

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Rammed earth school in Vietnam blooms like a colorful jungle flower

Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinkis most multicultural districts

January 9, 2017 by  
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In the long, dark, and cold winters of Helsinki , the Suvela Chapel shines bright as a welcoming, multi-faith space for one of the most multicultural districts in the metropolitan region. Located in the Suvela neighborhood of Espoo, where roughly a third of the residents are of foreign descent, the recently completed chapel was designed by architecture firm OOPEAA to serve as a multifunctional center that a diverse community can use together regardless of religious affiliation. The striking building is entirely clad in gleaming copper to emphasize unity; the material was also selected for its durability and recyclability. Commissioned by the Espoo Parish Union, the Suvela Chapel is used jointly by the Espoo Parish Union, the Swedish Parish of Espoo, and the City of Espoo to serve a diverse community. OOPEAA was tasked to create an eye-catching building with a strong identity of its own that would be welcoming to people of varying backgrounds and flexible enough to accommodate a number of activities. “Due to the relatively long, dark, and cold winters, communal indoor spaces play an important role as places for people to gather in Finland,” writes OOPEAA. “Providing schools, libraries and churches as places where people can come together on the common ground of a shared space has deep roots in the cultural tradition of Finland. The Suvela Chapel is part of this tradition.” Related: Stunning Seashore Chapel in China appears to float at high tide Located next to a local community park, the chapel is laid out like a horseshoe that wraps around an intimate interior courtyard . In addition to its copper exterior, the building is constructed from concrete and steel, while the interiors are mostly clad in locally-sourced spruce to inject a sense of warmth. Timber is also used in the outdoor canopies and, together with the copper panels, will develop a beautiful patina over time. The different functions of the chapel are laid out on one level and include a chapel hall, belfry, offices, meeting and group work spaces, areas for children and the youth, including afternoon child care and day care, activity rooms for local community clubs, and a soup kitchen. The Suvela Chapel was awarded bronze in the American Architecture Prize 2016 and was one of four finalist candidates nominated for the Finlandia Prize in Architecture in 2016. + OOPEAA Via Dezeen Images via OOPEAA

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Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinkis most multicultural districts

Meandering 2y House in Chile immerses inhabitants in its wooded surroundings

December 30, 2016 by  
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Few things in life produce the kind of peace and serenity found in a forest. This meandering treehouse in Chile provides a complete immersion into its wooded surroundings. Sebastian Irarrazaval Arquitectos designed 2y House as a solitary retreat that enhances the unique experience of being surrounded by trees. The house is located near Lake Colico, some 470 miles south of the Chilean capital, Santiago . Locally-sourced timber anchors the house to the place and references the sense of infinity that is present in forests. Natural light filters through broad windows and wooden screens, mimicking the effect created by tree tops. Related: Gorgeous Robin’s Nest Treehouse Hotel immerses you in nature This arboreal aesthetic is further enhanced by the use of red-painted wood on the exterior. Using a natural palette of reds, browns and greens marks a departure from the concrete and glass architecture that tends to dominate Chilean residential design. + Sebastian Irarrazaval Arquitectos Via Curbed

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Beautiful solar-powered soccer facility stays naturally cool in Australias heat

September 2, 2016 by  
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As with all k20 Architecture’s works on Inhabitat, sustainability is at the heart of BSRF. Solar panels power low-energy light fittings, while rainwater is collected and reused in the toilets. Extended eaves and double-glazing protect the building from harsh glare and natural ventilation is maximized with operable windows and thermal chimneys that provide stack effect cooling. Locally sourced and manufactured material components are used wherever possible, such as the carpets made of 40% recycled content and grandstand seating constructed of recycled plastic. Low VOC paints and durable finishes can be found throughout. BSRF’s most eye-catching element is the sculptural Eureka Stockade wall, the curved west-facing timber facade that protects the playing field from the winds and sun. The wall references the makeshift wooden barricade erected in the Battle of the Eureka Stockade fought between miners and the Colonial forces of Australia in 1854. The architect’s modern interpretation of the wall features a jagged roofline with a handsome mosaic of grey ironbark, spotted gum , and stringy bark. Related: Solar-powered civic center in Australia repurposes over 80% of its original building materials “The facility is unique in that it has been designed specifically for the soccer community of regional Victoria,” write the architects. “As a result, k20 Architecture was able to customize the design to emulate the experience of a world standard soccer stadium. This is illustrated in the alignment of the primary player’s race to the centre line of the playing pitch, which enables players of all ages and standards to experience key aspects of playing on the ‘big stage.’” The BSRF is part of the first stage for a still-developing master plan for the site. The facility was recently selected as a finalist in the 2016 Sport, Recreation and Play Industry Innovation, Facility Design and Development Awards and a finalist in the 2016 Australian Timber Design Awards Fitout Featuring Timber Cladding Category. + k20 Architecture Images via k20 Architecture

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Beautiful solar-powered soccer facility stays naturally cool in Australias heat

These two arboretum buildings were built using waste timber sourced and milled on-site

April 13, 2016 by  
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The Girl Scouts of Utah built impressive summer cabins without a single drop of glue

March 29, 2016 by  
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