Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

November 29, 2019 by  
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In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of construction, French architecture firm Atelier du Pont has created an office for Santé publique France, the French public healthcare agency. The new office is built almost entirely from wood and is free of solvents and plastics . Nicknamed “Woody” after its timber build, the office is located on the eastern edge of Paris right next to the Bois de Vincennes, the largest public park in the city. The architecture responds to the neighboring landscape with its branching design that embraces the surroundings “like open, protective arms.” Inspired by the Bois de Vincennes, Woody features an all-natural material palette of timber, which is used for everything from the cross-laminated timber structural components and oak flooring to the shingled facades and wood furnishings. Large, furnished terraces jut out from the building to overlook beautiful views of the wooded park, while expansive walls of glass bring those views and natural light indoors. The connection to nature is also referenced in the shape of the building, which resembles a bundle of sticks placed on the ground. Related: Railway enclave in Paris is transformed into a solar-powered mixed-use eco-district “This design symbolizes the mission of this institution, which oversees the health of everyone who lives in France ,” the architects explained in a press release. “The aim is to be exemplary in terms of its impact on the environment and the health. The project has created a pleasant space that takes its users’ wellbeing fully into account.” To create a healthy work environment, the architects have emphasized natural daylighting and a connection to nature. The neutral color palette and unpainted timber lend a warm and tactile feel to the interior. In addition to the nearby park, occupants can enjoy the three gardens around the building, each organized around a theme of beneficial, healing or harmful plants. + Atelier du Pont Photography by Takuji Shimmura via Atelier du Pont

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Timber Woody office in France embraces Paris’ largest park

ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with worlds largest atrium in Beijing

November 22, 2019 by  
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In China’s capital city, Zaha Hadid Architects has completed the Leeza SOHO tower, a 45-story skyscraper that boasts the world’s largest atrium at 194.15 meters in height. Designed to anchor the new Fengtai business district in southwest Beijing, the futuristic tower is wrapped in a double-insulated unitized glass curtain wall system that curves around its twisting, sculptural form. In addition to double glazing, the Leeza SOHO incorporates water collection, low-flow fixtures, a green roof , photovoltaic panels and other sustainable measures to meet LEED Gold standards. Set atop an underground subway service tunnel, Leeza SOHO was strategically sited next to the business district’s rail station at the intersection of five new lines that are currently under construction. The tunnel that bisects the tower splits the building into two halves; the resulting void in between has been turned into an atrium that acts as a new public square. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects designs BREEAM-targeted terminal for electrified Rail Baltic In addition to providing panoramic views of the city, the rotated atrium also brings daylight deep into the building and doubles as a thermal chimney with an integrated ventilation system to bring clean air to the interiors. Indoor comfort is further achieved with the low-E, double-insulated glazing that ensures stable temperatures. To meet LEED Gold standards, Leeza SOHO features an advanced 3D BIM energy management system to monitor real-time environmental control and energy efficiency. Energy-saving measures include heat recovery from exhaust air; high-efficiency equipment such as pumps, fans and lighting; low-flow water fixtures and gray water flushing. Low-VOC materials were selected to minimize interior pollutants. Occupants and visitors can also enjoy plenty of bicycle parking, with 2,680 spaces available, as well as lockers and shower facilities. Underground, there are also dedicated charging spaces for electric and hybrid cars. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Hufton+Crow / Zaha Hadid Architects

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ZHA completes LEED Gold-targeted building with worlds largest atrium in Beijing

PaperTale app shows the ethics and sustainability of clothing with a simple scan

November 22, 2019 by  
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It’s often difficult to be a conscientious consumer. Even with the best intentions, we often just don’t have the information we need to make a truly informed decision. Sure we can observe and avoid excess packaging , but it’s challenging to get a deeper dive into the origin of materials or how employees at a plant halfway around the globe are treated. These are issues that inspired PaperTale, an app that provides information about the origin and production of certain products. The inspiration for PaperTale came to Swedish creator Bilal Bhatti after more than 15 years of witnessing the atrocities associated with fast fashion, such as worker exploitation and environmental pollution . Knowing how toxic the textile industry is to the planet and workers, he created a smart tag that allows tracking of the product through every stage of material sourcing, manufacturing and transport. Related: Good Clothing releases capsule collection made from hemp and organic cotton The smart tag provides transparency of the process so consumers can see the tale of the clothing they purchase. Traceability is achieved as businesses provide information at each stage of the process. Suppliers and buyers must register and verify each transaction independently of each other for a more comprehensive and authentic picture of the product supply chain. This information allows PaperTale to calculate an environmental footprint of the product that shows water usage and carbon emissions . Once manufacturing begins, employee hours are also tracked to ensure a fair working wage . For complete transparency, employees have access to their worker logs, via a kiosk within the factory or the app on their phones, to verify hours are properly recorded. All of the information gathered from all sources is stored using blockchain technology to enhance transparency and prevent users from manipulating the data. With a simple scan of the embedded smart tag using a smartphone, consumers can see the employees who made the garment and read their feedback about wages and working conditions . In addition, consumers can tip workers directly through the app and even contribute to crowdfund educational programs for workers or their children. PaperTale is currently campaigning on Kickstarter with a goal of just over $103,000. Rewards for pledges include clothing along with the PaperTale technology. The campaign ends December 13, 2019 with production set to begin in January if it is fully funded. + PaperTale Images via PaperTale

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PaperTale app shows the ethics and sustainability of clothing with a simple scan

A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

November 8, 2018 by  
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A dark and gloomy, non-insulated dwelling with zero views to speak of has been dramatically transformed into a bright and sustainable home thanks to the work of local architecture studio Urban Creative . Flanked by 6-meter-tall walls and set on a long and narrow lot in inner Melbourne , 2 Halves Make a Home is a three-bedroom family residence that comprises two structures centered on a light-filled courtyard that allows daylight to penetrate deep into the living areas. Bricks sourced from the original decrepit structure were recycled for the construction of the new home, which features repurposed and sustainable materials throughout, from low-VOC finishes to a solar photovoltaic system and green wall. Faced with a site only 5.5 meters in width, the architects knew that access to the outdoors and light were crucial to making the family residence feel comfortably spacious. To that end, a courtyard was inserted along with walls of operable double-pane glass that blur the line between indoors and out. In addition to allowing natural light to enter the home, the courtyard also promotes passive cross ventilation while the full-height glazing and adjacent masonry party walls help capture early morning solar gain for passive heating in winter. “The original brick party wall has been uncovered and cleaned back to expose its rich warmth throughout the main axis of the dwelling,” the architects explained. “Not only does this avoid the use of new materials to construct this facade, but both dwellings on either side of the party wall serve to insulate each other.” Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne Aside from the renovated brick wall and reclaimed brick used for the ground-floor facade, other recycled materials were used wherever possible. Reclaimed timber was used from the stairs and floorboards to the repurposed internal solid timber doors and timber shelves in the living room. Instead of replacing the ground floor structural slab, the architects polished the concrete and added a hydronic heating system. Low-VOC materials and finishes, like Tadelakt — a Moroccan rendering technique based on lime plaster and olive oil soap — promote a healthy indoor living environment. The house is also equipped with a solar array and a rainwater harvesting system. + Urban Creative Photography by Jessie May via Urban Creative

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A gloomy house is revived as a modern solar home built of recycled materials

Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

July 11, 2018 by  
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A two-story heritage building in Melbourne has been remade into Birkenstock Australia’s new headquarters, an eco-conscious development with a modern aesthetic to reflect the classic elegance of the company’s shoe line. Designed by local architecture firm Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) , the adaptive reuse project targets carbon neutral status thanks to its solar photovoltaic system, passive solar design, and a sustainably minded material palette that includes recycled timbers and natural materials. The offices are also designed with human comfort and health in mind and feature low-VOC materials, an abundance of indoor plants and natural daylighting. Located in Clifton Hill, the award-winning Birkenstock Australia headquarters includes a retail shopfront, e-tail, wholesale operations, offices, showrooms and a workshop, as well as a courtyard and warehouse with a mezzanine. The Australian landscape is celebrated throughout the adaptive reuse project’s design, starting with the retail shopfront, which is outfitted with double glazing, a living grass floor and a deciduous tree. The central courtyard also echoes the landscape with recycled timber sleepers and a water tank. “Creating a green environment within an existing, heritage building is much more challenging than a new build,” explains Melbourne Design Studios founding director Marc Bernstein-Hussmann, who adds that they opted to integrate the different departments of Birkenstock into a single company culture. “Coincidentally over a hundred years ago the building was conceived for a boot manufacturer. We’ve reinvented an almost derelict building to live and breathe its owners’ values.” Related: Melbourne architects turn an old terrace house into a gorgeous light-filled home To promote collaboration between the departments, the architects inserted an open office layout dressed with air-purifying plants. The interior is flooded with natural light, while timber slat screens provide shading. The sustainably sourced timber palette includes woods such as sugar gum with linseed oil, EO plywood, and recycled paper with bamboo fiber that’s used in the office’s bench tops. + Melbourne Design Studios Images by Peter Clarke

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Eco-conscious Birkenstock HQ in Melbourne targets carbon-neutral status

A 1940s home gets an energy-efficient renovation for $250K

June 4, 2018 by  
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When the homeowners of a small, Cape Cod-style home in Arlington Heights, Illinois wanted extra room for their growing family, they turned to DII Architecture for help. The design/build firm not only added a second floor, but also oversaw a complete revamp of the ground floor. Conceived with a modern farmhouse aesthetic, the Wilke House is now flooded with natural light and features an airy, spacious interior that’s more energy-efficient than before thanks to a new suite of low-energy additions. Located on a large three-quarter-acre lot, the 2,150-square-foot home was refreshed with new white siding and a roof clad in Owens Corning shingles . The original Cape Cod attic was demolished and replaced with a new second floor with room for a double-height dining and meeting area that can be seen from above thanks to a new catwalk, which has Feeney DesignRail railings. Although the budget didn’t allow for a standing seam metal roof, the Wilke House makes its modern farmhouse influences evident through the material palette of warm woods matched with crisp white paint, extruded window elements, and indoor daylighting. “This project has quite a few sustainable elements,” says DII Architecture. “During the demo phase, we preserved as much of the first floor as possible, included old nominal 2×4 studs and white oak flooring. Low VOC paints were used throughout the home as well as LED bulbs. Energy Star appliances were also implemented. Lastly, Low-E windows [with] argon were used for the whole house.” Related: Crusty old Swiss barn transformed into a modern solar-powered home The renovated home, completed for $250,000 in 2016, offers bedrooms for the family’s two kids as well as a guest bedroom for when grandparents and friends visit. The large lot was preserved to provide an outdoor play area for the family’s children and dog. All second-floor rooms feature vaulted ceilings to help create the illusion of more space. + DII Architecture Images by Black Olive Photographic

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A 1940s home gets an energy-efficient renovation for $250K

South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

June 27, 2017 by  
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One of South Africa’s literary treasures has transformed into an eco-friendly gem. Designed by Intsika Architects , the National English Literary Museum is the first five-star Green Star-certified Public & Education building in the country. Located in the university town of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, this eco-friendly museum meets impressive energy and water-saving targets, and also met social objectives through local job creation in construction. The 10,812-square-meter National English Literary Museum was completed in June 2016 for R145 million. Set with a park within a pedestrian-friendly area, the massive building is broken down into smaller elements, while selective massing responds to human scale. As a true community resource, the new library offers numerous public gathering spots and amenities such as a mini-theater, outdoor amphitheater , exhibition area, archives, library, and museum offices. Visual displays about the building’s sustainability initiatives teach visitors about the library’s water and energy savings, as well as green roof efficiency. To meet targets of reducing potable water consumption by more than 95% below benchmark, the library harvests and reuses rainwater from the roof for irrigation, toilet and urinal flushing; features xeriscaped indigenous landscaping to reduce irrigation needs; and installed water meters to monitor water consumption. Stormwater detention ponds capture and slowly release stormwater to prevent erosion in the river system. Daylighting is maximized indoors and a low-energy heat-recovery system provides cooling and heating simultaneously to different parts of the building. Where possible, materials were recycled and sourced locally, and include recycled rubber, recycled bamboo flooring, low-VOC paints, coconut mosaic wall cladding, and recycled plastic carpets. The green roof helps insulate the interior—the green-roofed archives tucked below ground don’t need air conditioning—and gabon walls and natural stone cladding used as thermal massing stabilize indoor temperatures. + Intsika Architects Images by Rob Duker

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South Africas first Green Star museum is an eco-friendly literary treasure

Ultralight NAWA sculpture continually changes its appearance throughout the day

June 27, 2017 by  
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Bionics, art, and public space merge in NAWA, a striking sculpture designed by Oskar Zi?ta of Zieta Prozessdesign for the European Capital of Culture 2016 celebrations. Created to match the celebrations’ slogan of “metamorphoses of culture,” this ultralight mirrored installation changes it appearance, which differs depending on where viewers stand and the time of day. The unveiling of the avante-garde sculpture on Daliowa Island of Wroc?aw in western Poland will take place on June 30, 2017. Inspired by bionic shapes, the 100-square-meter NAWA comprises 35 steel arches of varying sizes to create an openwork gate through which people can walk. The polished steel arches reflect the changing surroundings, thus giving the sculpture a continually changing appearance. The choice of arches is also a reference to the nearby landmarks including the Ossolineum, the church’s tower at Piasek, Wroclaw Market Hall, and Ostrów Tumski. “NAWA opens another chapter in the history of the Daliowa Island, returning it to the dwellers of Wroclaw,” wrote Zieta Prozessdesign. “The space is currently being revitalized and very soon will serve the city, becoming a bustling, open space for meetings, concerts and artistic events. Sculpture along with planned vegetation will create a consistent organic unity, emerging naturally from the river. At the same time, the realization will fit perfectly into the architectural order of the area and its vibrant life, full of tourists and passers-by.” Related: Tiny Mirrored Cabin Reflects the Ontario Landscape NAWA is ultra-lightweight thanks to FiDU, an innovative technology developed by Zieta Prozessdesign that distorts welded steel with compressed air. Almost 52 tonnes of steel and a million cubic meters of air were used for the sculpture. In addition to the installation of NAWA, around 7,500 new plants will be seeded on Daliowa Island. + Zieta Prozessdesign

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Ultralight NAWA sculpture continually changes its appearance throughout the day

This library shows how beautiful sustainable design builds community

April 5, 2017 by  
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This gorgeous new library just an hour’s drive from downtown Toronto is a true civic center with its welcoming light-filled spaces nestled into a hillside. Canadian design firm RDHA recently completed the green-roofed Waterdown Library in Hamilton, built to replace a smaller municipal building and designed with a strong focus on sustainability. The new 23,500-square-foot building houses the traditional library functions as well as several other civic spaces including two community multipurpose rooms, the Waterdown Public Archive, a satellite municipal services outlet, a community information office, and police services. The Waterdown Library’s cantilevered form draws inspiration from its surrounding landscape of the Niagara Escarpment, a massive rock ridge that overlooks Lake Ontario. RDHA writes: “The design process for this 23,500 square foot facility began with an acknowledgement of its dramatic site on the Niagara escarpment. Taking advantage of the topography to provide expression and access to the different programmatic elements in the building, the scheme engages and responds to the site by creating an architectural promenade that culminates in elevated south-facing views to Dundas street, the escarpment and Lake Ontario beyond.” By nestling the library into the hillside, the architects disguise the library’s bulk and create a building that looks one-story from the exterior but actually contains six levels. The slab-like building cantilevers over ten feet towards the southwest to mimic the escarpment’s rocky outcrop. Floor-to-ceiling glazing wraps around the building to lessen the library’s monolithic appearance. The building is also clad in four-inch-thick locally quarried limestone panels and sixteen-foot-high solar fins. Related: Golden Gate Valley Library is a Solar-Powered LEED Gold Renovation in San Francisco The library’s focus on energy efficiency begins with reliance on natural lighting thanks to the full-height glazing and sawtooth-style skylights. Solar heat gain is mitigated by the ceramic frit pattern on the double-glazed, argon-filled, low E-glass. Douglas fir used for solar shading and for interior cladding and furnishing was sourced from the demolished Hamilton Central Library. Recycled, low-VOC , and local materials are used throughout the building. A sloping green roof tops the library, while bioswales filter and funnel stormwater runoff into an underground rainwater collection system. The Waterdown Library has become a major gathering place for the Hamilton community and the greater region, and has seen a 150 percent increase in visitor numbers compared to the old library it replaced. + RDHA Via Architectural Record Images via Tom Arban

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This library shows how beautiful sustainable design builds community

Zaha Hadid Architects designs Beijing tower with worlds tallest atrium

February 17, 2017 by  
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Beijing is one step closer to completing the world’s tallest atrium. The 190-meter-tall atrium is part of the Leeza Soho, a 46-story mixed-use tower currently under construction that recently reached level 20. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the striking light-filled building integrated with energy-efficient systems and engineered to meet LEED Gold standards. Shaped like a slim barrel, the 172,800-square-meter Leeza Soho is set within the Lize Financial District and will be well connected with the city thanks to its position above a subway interchange station and proximity to the city’s bus routes. Zaha Hadid Architects used the subway lines that run beneath the site as the basis for a diagonal axis that splits the tower into two halves connected via the central atrium . The architects write: “As the tower rises, the diagonal axis through the site defined by the subway tunnel is re-aligned by ‘twisting’ the atrium through 45 degrees to orientate the atrium’s higher floors with the east-west axis of Lize Road, one of west Beijing’s primary avenues.” Related: Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Infinitus Plaza focuses on environmental sustainability The twist in the atrium allows natural light to penetrate into the center of all the floors and allows for a diversity of views into the city from all directions. To maximize energy efficiency, the glass curtainwall system is constructed with double-insulated low-e glazing units. High-tech insulation, self-shading and use of an advanced 3D BIM energy management system with real-time monitoring will help create a comfortable indoor environment year-round. The tower will target LEED Gold certification and also includes heat-recovery from exhaust air, high-efficiency pumps and fans, chillers and boilers, low-flow rate fixtures, gray water flushing, high-efficient air purifiers, and low VOC materials. Leeza Soho will reach its full height of 207 meters in September this year. The tower is slated for completion in late 2018. + Zaha Hadid Architects

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