Lush Sky Green towers are the first of their kind in Taichung

January 8, 2020 by  
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Taichung, Taiwan has taken yet another step toward becoming a greener, more livable city with the recent completion of Sky Green, a sustainably minded, mixed-use development. Designed by Singaporean architecture firm WOHA , the high-rise is named after its inclusion of sky gardens and terraces that are filled with lush, subtropical greenery. The project’s integration of green spaces is expected to raise the city’s standards for “skyrise greenery” in future sustainable developments. As an expert in sustainable high-density design, WOHA was initially invited to share its knowledge in 2012 upon invitation by the Taichung City Government and Feng Chia University. The architects’ “Breathing Architecture” exhibition was showcased in Taichung to help inform the government’s new regulations to turn Taichung into a more sustainable, smart city. Following the exhibition, property developer Golden Jade tapped WOHA to design a green mixed-use development in the heart of Taichung — the first of its kind in the city. Related: A disused railway will become a sustainable green corridor in Taiwan “The architectural strategies of Sky Green are new for Taichung, but they have been developed by WOHA over the last 25 years, and many prototypes have been successfully built in Singapore and other regions,” the architects explained in a statement. “The design of Sky Green has been adapted to suit the local culture and subtropical climate, as well as to ensure safety during earthquakes and typhoons. As the first high-density development in Taichung that also provides high amenity with its recreational facilities and ample integrated green spaces, Sky Green will be influential in defining the new benchmark of sustainability and skyrise greenery for the city’s future developments.” The project comprises two rectangular plots with two 26-story residential towers that consist of apartment units stacked atop retail spaces spanning the ground floor to the third level. Large recreational facilities for indoor and outdoor use are integrated throughout the towers. True to the development’s name, the buildings are also engineered with protruding balconies to accommodate sky gardens and even tree planters that give the building a “breathable facade.” Residents can also enjoy a series of sky terraces located at every five floors that emphasize a plant-filled, indoor-outdoor living environment. + WOHA Photography by Kuomin Lee via WOHA

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Lush Sky Green towers are the first of their kind in Taichung

The best eco tourism spots in San Diego

January 8, 2020 by  
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With 70 miles of coastline and average high temperatures ranging from 66 degrees in January to 77 in August, San Diego is a city where people like to spend time outside. This city of over 1.42 million between Los Angeles and Mexico has endless beaches, parks and cultural opportunities to explore. Its history combines native Kumeyaay people, Mexicans and European explorers, who first landed in San Diego Bay in 1542. Nowadays it’s home to people from around the world and welcomes nearly 36 million visitors per year. San Diego outdoors San Diego’s mild temperatures and beautiful topography make it ideal for biking, hiking and, of course, water sports. La Jolla Sea Kayak will take you on a tour of this beach town’s seven sea caves, where you might see sea lions, leopard sharks and dolphins. If you prefer a more placid paddle, the SUP Connection at Liberty Station offers a sheltered area to practice your SUP and kayak maneuvers. Some of San Diego’s best views are from Cabrillo National Monument at the end of the Point Loma peninsula. An excellent historic lighthouse welcomes lighthouse lovers, the ocean views stun bicyclists and hikers, and this national park unit has some of the best tide pools in the area. In springtime, the wildflowers are awesome. If you’re visiting San Diego with your canine friend, don’t miss the dog-friendly beaches. Dog Beach is a spacious section of Ocean Beach where dogs can run off-leash 24/7. Most of Fiesta Island in Mission Bay is also open to dogs. The SUP Connection offers SUP Pups — private lessons for if you want help training your dog to join you paddle boarding. If you can tear yourself away from the ocean, Balboa Park is an enduring San Diego attraction for museums, gardens , a miniature railroad, the zoo and just walking around. Much of the park was built for the 1935-36 California-Pacific International Exposition. The botanical building and lily pond are much beloved photographic backdrops. On the park’s eastern edge, the less-trafficked historic cactus garden features succulents and African protea. The Spanish Village Art Center houses 35 working art studios for those who like to shop and meet makers. Some of the area’s best beaches are on Coronado Island. For a varied outing, take the ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado, rent a bike and explore. Don’t miss the famous Hotel Del Coronado. Built in 1888, the wooden Victorian beach resort provided the setting for many movies, including Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like it Hot.” The beach in front of the Hotel Del has calm water and family-friendly swimming. San Diego wellness Not only does San Diego have a bazillion yoga studios, but many classes are also held outside. Whether you want to do yin yoga in Ocean Beach or vinyasa at Bird Rock in La Jolla, yogis dot every major beach. Mission Bay Aquatic Center will help you take your practice onto a stand-up paddleboard. Or go a little inland and join a Hatha class beside a koi pond at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. Just a little bit up the coast in San Diego’s North County, you can visit the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas. Founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, the SRF offers lectures, meditations, kirtans and other events. Or just stroll through the beautiful meditation gardens. Also in North County, the Chopra Center is part of Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad. It hosts varied multi-day meditation and wellness retreats from an Ayurvedic medicine perspective. Dining out in San Diego San Diego has a high veg IQ, with plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. For old-school veg food, try Jyoti-Bihanga in Normal Heights. Run by devotees of spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, this vegetarian restaurant has been serving Neatloaf sandwiches and other hearty meals for more than thirty years. For modern fast-casual wraps, bowls, tacos and burgers, try one of Native Foods’ three vegan outlets in San Diego County. In Ocean Beach, Peace Pies has all your raw vegan needs covered, from mango curry wraps to coconut cream pie. Veganic Thai Café in Hillcrest and Plumeria in University Heights and Encinitas allow you to enjoy your pad thai without worries of fish sauce contamination. Heartwork Coffee Bar in Hillcrest offers a case full of delicious vegan croissants, scones and other treats. Public transit Southern California is known for its car-centered ways, but many San Diego neighborhoods are extremely walkable. Since the city is large and spread out, you might need to take a bus, trolley or Uber to get between neighborhoods. San Diego Metropolitan Transit System runs the county’s extensive bus and trolley system. If you’re visiting Tijuana , the easiest way is to take the trolley to the border and walk across. For those with limited time who are firmly on the tourist track, buying a day-pass on the Old Town Trolley will take you directly to San Diego’s most-visited spots. You can hop on and off as much as you like. Guides will clue you in on the city’s history and lore between stops. Amtrak is a good way to get to other southern California cities, such as Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, without braving the hectic highways. For those needing to cross water, ferries run to Coronado Island, or you can call a water taxi. Since San Diego’s airport is downtown, it’s one of the few American cities where you can easily walk to many hotels. A shared-use bike/pedestrian path connects the airport to Liberty Station and Point Loma to the west, and downtown San Diego to the east. Eco hotels Many San Diego hotels are getting greener, but the city has a few real standouts. Hotel Indigo is the city’s only LEED-certified and Platinum Level GreenLeader, featuring rooftop composting and an eco-roof. It’s also central to all kinds of public transit. The Lafayette Hotel , Sheraton Hotel & Marina , Bahia Resort Hotel , and La Jolla’s Estancia Hotel & Spa are Gold Level GreenLeaders. The Bahia’s long list of eco measures includes subsidizing public transit for employees, converting cooking oil to biodiesel , participating in beach cleanups, and composting 100 percent of food waste. The Lafayette combines eco-consciousness with 1940s Hollywood style glamour. One warning: Avoid the many hotels located in the area called Hotel Circle, as you’ll find yourself walled in by unsightly freeways and a total lack of charm. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdams Rijnhaven area

December 19, 2019 by  
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In a bid to revitalize the area of Rijnhaven, a Rotterdam port dating back to 1895, Blueroom and Urban Crossovers have designed a proposal for a new, mixed-use development that could serve as a leading example of sustainable urbanism. The project, titled ‘Rotterdam Next Level! — SmartMoves 51.90,’ proposes high-density development built from low-waste, prefabricated architecture in a range of building typologies, from high-rises to floating creative communities. The development is also designed with carbon-neutral targets and aims to increase biodiversity on both land and water. As a delta city, Rotterdam has had to cope with flooding for years as the majority of the urban area sits below sea level. Building on Rotterdam’s experience and reputation for resilient design, Blueroom and Urban Crossovers want to turn the Rijnhaven area into a forward-thinking example of urbanism that addresses climate change, climate adaptation and housing shortages all at once. Related: ODA to transform Rotterdam’s historic post office into a vibrant destination “A development that is attractive and accessible for all, but also, a development that adds a unique urban condition to the entire metropolitan area,” the designers said. “A district that further enforces the innovative and sustainable ambitions of Rotterdam. Thus, setting an example for climate adaptive urbanism for urban deltas around the world.” The proposal calls for a mixed program of hotels, retail, cafe, offices, makerspaces and dedicated facilities for housing international institutions focused on fighting climate change. The masterplan would also include a wide variety of residences that serve all market segments, from floating creative communities to single-family houses with gardens to high-rises with apartments and penthouses. Prefabricated construction would be used for efficiency and to minimize disruptions to the surrounding areas. Green public spaces, a floating park and a park promenade would be woven throughout, with areas set aside for urban vegetable and fruit farming. + Blueroom Images via Blueroom

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Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdams Rijnhaven area

Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

December 17, 2019 by  
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The formerly industrial borough of Harbugh in Hamburg, Germany will soon get a strikingly modern and eco-conscious facelift thanks to Neuländer Quarree, a new mixed-use community planned for the area. Cape Town-based architecture and design firm SAOTA won the architectural competition for the project with its design of a net-zero energy development powered by geothermal wells, wood pellet-fuelled cogeneration plants and photovoltaic panels. The project was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Residential Future Project category of the World Architecture Festival, a global architectural awards program and festival, earlier this month. Created in collaboration with Cologne-based BeL Architecture and Berlin-based ROBERTNEUN Architects, the new Neuländer Quarree design aims to revitalize the Harburg inland port with mixed programming and an attractive streetscape with contemporary architecture rooted in historic context. The development will span a site of approximately 44,000 square meters and include 400 apartments, a hotel, offices, retail trade and a technology park with space for businesses, manufacturing and crafts. Related: LAVA designs carbon-neutral LIFE Hamburg with an edible green roof “What sets this project apart is the introduction of communal roof gardens and a variety of social functions on the roof, including sports facilities with running and walking routes, outside dining areas, toddler and kids play areas, an outside cinema and a large area dedicated to urban agriculture,” said Phillippe Fouché, director of SAOTA, in a press release. “As a public gesture, the design introduces a raised public enclave which allows visual access to the canal, the steps leading to it also double as urban seating and meeting place, creating an inclusive urban interface.” Sustainability is also a key feature of the net-zero energy community and part of the overarching goal of promoting “long-term commitment to future residents and users.” In addition to the sculptural buildings, the waterfront development will be defined by attractive public spaces and retail to attract residents and visitors alike. Construction on Neuländer Quarree is scheduled for 2020 with planned completion in 2023. + SAOTA Images via SAOTA

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Net-zero community planned for Hamburg will rely on geothermal and solar energy

Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future

December 5, 2019 by  
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Italian architecture firm Luca Curci Architects has unveiled the Vertical City, a futuristic proposal for urban development comprising a series of modular, zero-energy skyscrapers anchored into the ocean floor. Envisioned as a completely self-sufficient settlement, the utopian city promises “healthier lifestyles” for the vertical city-building’s residents. The thought experiment was recently presented for the first time at the Knowledge Summit 2019 in Dubai last month. The Vertical City proposal comprises a super-tall, mixed-use residential building at its core surrounded by and connected to three civic-oriented towers and three crescent-shaped leisure buildings. All buildings would be built using modular, prefabricated elements that can be repeated horizontally as well as vertically. The Vertical City can also be expanded in parts and would be anchored into the sea bed close to the mainland. Related: WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo The cylindrical buildings in the development are clad in photovoltaic glazing and punctuated with hexagonal openings that promote circulation of light and air. The central, 750-meter-tall residential tower would consist of 10 modular layers — each layer consists of 18 floors and includes a mix of homes, offices, stores and other facilities — to host a total of 25,000 people. The building would also offer more than 200,000 square meters of green space, which includes the public garden at the top of the building. “We will build a new way of living,” Luca Curci said in a press statement. “More sustainable . With more interconnected communities programs. Deleting suburbs. Reducing poverty.” In addition to the 25,000 people housed within the central residential tower, the Vertical City would service over 100,000 people who would travel to the city for work, school and medical care in the three adjacent towers that house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities and educational institutions. The three crescent-shaped buildings, called the Moons, offer lifestyle amenities such as hotels, wellness and spa centers, sport centers and shopping malls. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future

Community-oriented housing redefines a former industrial site in west London

November 15, 2019 by  
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London-based architectural firm Mæ has completed the second phase of Brentford Lock West, a urban regeneration masterplan that is providing quality homes — 40 percent of which are designated for shared ownership — designed to engage the waterfront environment and community. Taking inspiration from the site’s industrial past, the architecture complements its historic setting with distinctive sawtooth roofs that help funnel light into the buildings and the material palette of blond brick, in-situ concrete and reconstituted stone. In addition to designing for optimal daylighting, the architects have included mechanical ventilation heat recovery systems and high levels of thermal insulation to ensure energy efficiency . Completed at the end of 2018, the second phase of Brentford Lock West introduces an additional 157 homes to the mixed-use masterplan and includes a combination of lateral apartments, duplexes, penthouses and townhouses. All homes are “step-free” and follow the Lifetime Home Standard , a set of design principles that emphasize inclusivity, accessibility, adaptability, sustainability and good value. Each home is carefully oriented to maximize privacy as well as views, whether of the canal to the north or the city to the south. Related: RRA unveils mountain-inspired ski resort that emphasizes nature and community In designing the development, the architects worked with the local community and other stakeholders. As a result, community values have been embedded into the design of Brentford Lock West. One such example is the new “neighborhood street” — a shared space for pedestrians and cyclists that is landscaped and paved with herringbone brick — that knits the two phases together. Also at the heart of the development is a landscaped communal garden. Large cantilevered balconies engage the street below. “Continuing the architectural language of phase one, the second phase builds upon scale and massing, alongside the benchmark it set in terms of quality and sense of place,” the architecture firm added. “Holding the corners of each plot, six pavilion buildings are linked through rows of private townhouses and bridge structures that form entrance portals and house further accommodation above.” + Mæ Images via Goodfellow Communications

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Community-oriented housing redefines a former industrial site in west London

Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

September 23, 2019 by  
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An abundance of green will soon take over the heart of Paris with the transformation of the city’s old railway site, Ordener-Poissonniers, into a lush 3.7-hectare “ecosystem neighborhood.” The mixed-use masterplan will be spearheaded by Danish landscape architecture practice SLA and French architecture firm BIECHER ARCHITECTES , who won an international competition with the “Jardin Mécano” (“Mechanical Garden”) proposal for a sustainable urban development emphasizing bioclimatic design. In addition to the creation of large public parks, the neighborhood will include carbon-neutral architecture and renewable energy systems. Located in the 18th arrondissement, the new “ecosystem neighborhood” will pay homage to the former railway site by preserving its industrial heritage while injecting new functionality to the underused area. The mixed-use masterplan will include housing for 1,000 residents — half of which will be for social housing, 20 percent for intermediate and the remainder for private housing — as well as 13,800 square meters of office space, new school buildings, an industrial design incubator for SME, a nine-screen cinema complex, urban farming areas and plenty of restaurant and retail space. Related: Benjamin Fleury creates affordable, modern apartments with a low-energy footprint in Paris “The Ordener-Poissonniers project will act as a green generous gift to the city of Paris,” said Rasmus Astrup, partner in SLA. “In the transformation of the old post-industrial railway site, we have especially focused on the values and the qualities we want the new development to give back to the neighborhood. By combining the strong industrial character with innovative, nature-based designs and public ecosystem services, we create a new standard for nature in Paris — where nature is everywhere and where humans, plants and animals can live and flourish together.” To minimize the development’s environmental footprint in the long run, the buildings will be optimized for wind and solar conditions. Other sustainable features include photovoltaic panels mounted onto the roofs, planting plans that promote biodiversity and the use of natural materials and prefabricated low-carbon concrete floors. The project is slated for completion in 2024. + SLA + BIECHER ARCHITECTES Images via SLA

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Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

Heatherwick Studio breaks ground on undulating plant-covered development in the heart of Tokyo

August 28, 2019 by  
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London-based design practice Heatherwick Studio has begun construction on a stunning redevelopment project in Toranomon-Azabudai in the heart of Tokyo. Commissioned by the Mori Building Company, the key feature of the luxury mixed-use scheme will be a “gigantic planted pergola”— an undulating building wrapped in glass and covered in greenery. Spanning an area greater than eight hectares, the site will also include a series of modern high-rises and a large 6,000-square-meter central landscaped square. Slated for completion in March 2023, the Toranomon-Azabudai mixed-use development is the first Heatherwick Studio project in Japan to go into construction. The project will include space for offices, residences, a variety of retail, a school, as well as a temple. The architects estimate that 25 to 30 million people per year will visit the area. Related: A chic, nature-filled office building in Tokyo boldly brings the outdoors in To give the project a distinctive identity, the architects created a “pergola-like system scaled up to district proportions” that rises like a gently sloping hillside covered with greenery. Large panes of curved glass will bring natural light deep into the building, even into the basement retail zones. The organic, sculptural form will also reference Japanese design with its inclusion of traditional craftsmanship styles such as the ‘Edo kiriko’ glass etching technique.  “Our design for the project responds to the layering of Tokyo; the juxtapositions of scale and the character of buildings that draw the eye upwards,” explains Neil Hubbard, Group Leader at Heatherwick Studio. “Set within a natural valley, we have chosen to accentuate that topography through our design, creating an undulating arrangement that uses a pergola-like structural system to create a variety of landscape spaces, from hidden gardens to sunken courtyards. Weaving and flowing through the scheme, a family of pavilions emerges from the grid of the pergola . Rather than focus on one single impression, we hope to encourage exploration by creating hundreds of moments to be revealed and discovered.” + Heatherwick Studio Renderings via Heatherwick Studio by DBox and Darcstudio, Image by Mori Building

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Heatherwick Studio breaks ground on undulating plant-covered development in the heart of Tokyo

MVRDV designs a Dutch office building covered in potted plants

August 15, 2019 by  
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MVRDV has unveiled designs for the Green Villa, a striking mixed-use building draped in greenery for the Dutch village of Sint-Michielsgestel. Created in collaboration with Van Boven Architecten , the four-story Green Villa will be located on the town’s southern edge and will use a grid “rack” system to host a wide variety of potted plants, bushes and trees, including the likes of forsythia, jasmine, pine and birch. The project will be a landmark project for the village and will promote sustainability with improved biodiversity and carbon sequestration. Located on a corner lot next to the Dommel River, the 1,400-square-meter Green Villa will house a new ground-floor office space for real estate developer and client, Stein, as well as five apartments on the three floors above in addition to underground parking. The building shape relates to the existing urban fabric with its adoption of the mansard roof shape used on the neighboring buildings. A new architectural typology is also put forth with the use of a strikingly lush facade that will help the structure blend in with the nearby river, fields and trees. Related: MVRDV designs BREEAM excellent-seeking sustainable research lab for Amsterdam “This design is a continuation of our research into ‘facade-less’ buildings and radical greening,” explained Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “The idea from the nineties of city parks as an oasis in the city is too limited. We need a radical ‘green dip’: as will be shown soon in a book by The Why Factory with the same title, we should also cover roofs and high-rise facades with greenery. Plants and trees can help us to offset CO2 emissions , cool our cities and promote biodiversity.” The Green Villa will be defined by a square grid four bays wide and three bays deep, in which modules for bedrooms and living spaces will slot inside. The facade will be made up of a “rack” of shelves of varying depths to support a “three-dimensional arboretum,” and each plant will have its own nameplate with additional information. The plants will be watered year-round with a sensor-controlled irrigation system that uses recycled rainwater . Construction is scheduled to start in 2020. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs a Dutch office building covered in potted plants

Award-winning B-Austin Community Project champions communal and sustainable living

August 9, 2019 by  
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Solar collection, EV charging and gray water recycling are just a few of the environmentally features offered at B-Austin Community Project , an innovative mixed-use development designed by local design practice Clark | Richardson Architects . Created with the goal of becoming one of Austin’s greenest buildings, the co-housing project considers more than just energy-efficiency—the health and wellness of its occupants have also been prioritized in the design. The mixed-use complex was awarded with a 2018 Austin Green Award and is in the process of receiving a 4-star Austin Energy Green Building Rating. Located in South Austin, the B-Austin Community Project spans 22,000 square feet across three stories. The timber-framed building comprises 14 modern apartment units as well as amenity spaces—such as community gardens, an on-site gym and a community center—and leasable white box office suites marketed towards heath and wellness businesses, such as those in the massage and physical therapy industry. As part of the City of Austin SMART building program, the development also reserves a fraction of the apartments for low-income occupants earning less than 80 percent of the median income. “B-AUSTIN was conceived as a place to foster community in a sustainable , environmentally friendly setting,” says a B-Austin statement on their website. “In this spirit, we offer residents easy access to a wide variety of professional wellness resources and programs to encourage in-reach among community members.” Related: Austin passes law banning restaurants from throwing out food waste In addition its emphasis on healthy and communal lifestyles, the mixed-use development reduces its environmental footprint with sustainable systems such as a solar array that offsets a quarter of the facility’s electricity needs, LED interior lighting, electric car charging stations, an Integrated Landfill Diversion Plan to make it easier to recycle and compost, a rainwater harvesting system and an adaptive greywater harvesting program to conserve potable water. According to the architects, B-Austin is set to become “the first mixed-use multifamily community in Austin, and possibly the first in the state, to use greywater recycling.” + Clark Richardson Architects Images via Clark Richardson Architects

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Award-winning B-Austin Community Project champions communal and sustainable living

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