Prefab Morgan Motor Company Experience Centre uses sustainable timber

November 27, 2020 by  
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Bath, U.K.-based Hewitt Studios has given a stunning makeover to Morgan Motor Company’s aging café, museum and showroom with the new Experience Centre, a prefabricated visitor center made from sustainably sourced timber . Designed with reusability in mind, the building takes cues from the British motor car manufacturer’s hand-built sports cars that are constructed from three recyclable core elements: ash timber, aluminum and leather. The sustainably minded building also reduces its carbon footprint with high-performance insulation, daylighting and a responsible stormwater management strategy. With more than a century of experience working with local craftsmen to construct its handmade cars, the Morgan Motor Company has built its reputation on ethical sourcing, natural materials and a focus on longevity. As a result, Hewitt Studios wanted the new Experience Centre to reflect the company’s sustainable values and used three prefabricated structures built of timber in a nod to the company’s historic ash body frames. These structures include the Jewel Box, a display space for the company’s hero car and customer handovers; a sculptural visitor entrance foyer; and an external covered car canopy that is large enough to shelter the demo car fleet. The car canopy features an undulating profile evocative of the Malvern Hills’ rolling topography. Related: Visitor center disguised as a hill to welcome visitors to Denmark’s historic Kalø Castle Ruins The architects also put new cladding and roofing atop the existing buildings and built out the internal spaces. Timber and easily recyclable aluminum flashings were used for the cladding and are detailed for easy dismantling and recycling. Metsawood Kerto laminated veneer lumber, an inexpensive off-the-shelf industrial product made with certified timber from sustainably managed forests, was also incorporated into all of the new structures, particularly in the sculptural canopies.  The architects explained, “This strategy of using a single conventional product in a number of unconventional ways delivers terrific value for Morgan, creating the impression of an expensive bespoke outcome using readily available ‘stock’ timber sections — maximum bang for their buck!” + Hewitt Studios Images via Morgan Motor Company

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Prefab Morgan Motor Company Experience Centre uses sustainable timber

Modular treehouse concept is inspired by wasp nests

November 27, 2020 by  
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As an entry to the Young Architects Competitions’ Tree House Module contest, the architecture team of Garvin Goepel and Christian Baumgarten have proposed a modular treehouse called Nidus Domum that is made up of two shelters inspired by wasp nests. The modules are designed to sit on the property of Vibrac castle in France to help visitors escape modern civilization. Curved in shape and designed to shelter visitors high up in the trees, Nidus Domum provides a closer connection to nature . The layering, addition and multiplication of individual elements of the modules are inspired by the way that wasps build their nests, in a similar systematic and engineered pattern. With wasps, oval-shaped nests are protected by a layer of chewed wood chips and wasp saliva, like a glue. The insects build layers next to each other in order to strengthen the inner population’s protection. Related: Treehouse hotel in Bali offers maximum views with a minimal footprint The modules interlock through single parts rather than in a continuous large surface, making the production and fabrication of the treehouse highly customizable. Panels can be adapted to specialized contextual arrangements, like tree branches, by exchanging and customizing single panels. Individual elements are designed small enough to be prefabricated in local factories, quickly transported to building sites and easily assembled. Subsequently, the modules are also easy to take apart and move to other locations. The treehouse modules are composed of 24 individual panels with a wooden frame that includes inner bent wood paneling and an outer cladding made of liana tree bark splits sourced from the building site. The first module, Nidus Dolichovespula sylvestris (Nest of a Tree Wasp), suspends from the tree high above the ground. From the shelter, inhabitants gain an elevated view through the forest toward the castle on one side and the remote wild landscape on the other. In contrast, the second module, Nidus Polistinae (Nest of a Field Wasp), has a free-standing construction. The design is elevated by pilings, so it doesn’t require a tree as structural support and maintains space for a sauna . This sauna is built using the same system and connects to a terrace poised over the lake surface. Users can steam in the sauna before dipping their feet in the cold water below. + Garvin Goepel + Christian Baumgarten Images via Christian Baumgarten

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Architects envision a lush, solar-powered oasis to cool Abu Dhabi

November 13, 2020 by  
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Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) has named European architecture firm Mask Architects’ palm tree-inspired Oasys proposal one of the 10 winners in ‘Cool Abu Dhabi’ . This global design competition sought sustainable solutions for mitigating the urban heat island effect . The winning design calls for a solar-powered refuge with modular, palm tree-like structures that would provide protection from the elements and respite from the heat with solar-powered misters and lush landscaping. The multipurpose, pop-up spaces could also be used for a variety of functions, from cafes and and retail stands to exhibition spaces. Mask Architect’s Oasys proposal draws the eye with its massive palm tree-inspired structures that the architects said would be topped with solar panels and integrated with lights and nozzles that spray a cooling mist into the air. Dubbed the Artificial Breathing Palm modular structure system, the design includes a “foundation base” that conceals all of the technical equipment — including water and electric lines as well as solar batteries — as well as five triangular module types of varying sizes. The modules can connect together in different configurations to fit a variety of settings, while lush landscaping would be planted around the modules to give the space more of an oasis-like feel. Related: Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape “The ‘Oasis’ design concept has been influenced by the need to create a greener city as well as creating a real oasis in the middle of the city,” Mask Architects explained. “Besides the the flexible and replaceable design line, any outdoor functions are adapted easily into ‘Oasys’ conceptA mechanism that can be replicated easily to form a network of hubs and centre points in which they act as islands of rest places, socialising and sociable communal for the collective and community.” The ‘Cool Abu Dhabi ’ global design competition concluded earlier this year and received over 300 entries from nearly 70 countries. The 10 winning entries were announced online and each received $10,000 each in prize money.  + Mask Architects Images via Mask Architects

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Modular Tree-House School concept connects kids with nature

October 27, 2020 by  
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Could this be the school of the future? Designer Valentino Gareri has created a concept for the Tree-House School, a sustainable and modular educational building that highlights children’s relationship with nature. The treehouse design distributes classes and age groups through multiple levels, incorporating usable roof classroom space and combining indoor with outdoor educational activities. As more and more schools prepare to reopen, the importance of having ample opportunities for distance learning and access to fresh air has become paramount. The Tree-House School envisions a learning center that is not only suspended and immersed in nature but also includes all phases of the educational process from kindergarten to secondary school. Related: Rimbin concept offers a look into the future of infection-free playgrounds Additionally, as people continue to relocate from big cities to less-populated areas thanks to the flexibility of remote work, rural areas around the world are gaining more popularity. The proposed design includes a modular educational center containing multiple levels of schooling, with all spaces fitting into two rings that create two courtyards and additional accessible rooftops. Classrooms are located inside the main circle, all with easy connection to courtyards and outdoor landscapes to help increase the relationship with nature both physically and visibly. Each 55-square-meter module is made of cross-laminated timber and corresponds to 20-25 students per classroom connected by a central corridor. The Tree-House School is operable 24/7 and features a community center, a plaza, a café and a library available to the entire community . The modular design allows for future school expansions, different programming and even opportunities for multiple functions, like temporary residential units or medical centers for emergencies. The building’s faceted facade is created by alternating solid timber and glazed panels; the circular perimeter blocks direct sunlight with opaque panels and diffuses light through transparent ones. Sustainability and energy-efficient measures include rainwater collection systems, natural cross-ventilation, photovoltaic panels and wind energy devices. + Valentino Gareri Images via Valentino Gareri

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Modular hanging suites are built to drop into any setting

August 21, 2020 by  
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Located in the tourist-friendly Spanish village of Santa Maria de Palautordera, the Drop Box N-240 is a transportable, modular suite that is ready to “drop” into practically any location via crane. The models, designed by In-Tenta, are manufactured offsite, transported and quickly assembled. Along with wood as a renewable and sustainable building material for the frame, suites come with either natural wood cladding or composite panels made of cement and wood particles as exterior finish. The hotel property provides views of the Montseny Massif mountain range in Montseny Natural Park, included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves. This park is located in the Catalan pre-coastal mountain range, 25 kilometers from the stunning Mediterranean Sea and 50 kilometers from bustling Barcelona. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days In a project designed to increase in size without interfering with the natural environment, the prefab suite is suspended in the middle of the forest with a panoramic view over the trees. The floor plan includes a living room, a fully equipped bathroom and a platform with space for a queen-sized bed. The pod-like suite and attached terrace is installed like a treehouse , elevated over a metal structure to adhere to the sloped terrain while minimizing impact upon the site. The entire layout is designed for minimal occupation of land, giving the rooms a small, yet comfortable, ambiance. The cement-wood combination panels are low-maintenance, non-toxic, impermeable to water and aren’t susceptible to damage from living organisms. There are also several colors to choose from to customize the suite. The design company can also customize the floor plan depending on a client’s needs. In the case of the Santa Maria de Palautordera property, the entrance door is made of the same cement and wood mixture that makes up the rest of the facade, rather than the default transparent glass. The standard Drop Box N-240 layout includes a kitchen and a shower, but this particular suite ditched the kitchen and swapped a shower for a bathtub to save space. + In-Tenta Photography by estudibasic via In-Tenta

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Hello Wood launches flat-pack kits for DIY tiny cabins

August 18, 2020 by  
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In one of its latest timber-centric projects, Budapest-based design studio Hello Wood has created the Kabinka, a prefab cabin inspired by the tiny house movement . Developed with affordability in mind, the modular structure comes in four sizes — ranging between 12 to 20 square meters — and comes flat-packed for easy transportation. Each cabin kit can be assembled by hand in just one to three days. Crafted under the slogan “design cabin at a reasonable price,” Hello Wood’s Kabinka is a minimalist, gable-roofed tiny cabin that is inspired by the rural vernacular of Hungary. Each Kabinka is designed and manufactured in Hungary and comfortably fits a tea kitchen, a bathroom, a couch and a stove. The four base sizes include the small at 12 square meters; the medium at 14.9 square meters; the large at 17.3 square meters; and the extra-large that includes 20 square meters of indoor living space along with a 9.6-square-meter outdoor patio. The cabin rises to an exterior height of 4.06 meters with an interior floor-to-ceiling height that is tall enough to accommodate a loft level. Related: Hello Wood unveils a tiny cabin that sleeps up to 8 people Flexibility was key in the design of Kabinka, which can be used as a weekend retreat, private work space or even as an extra meeting room or community space for a company. “The compact coolable and heatable interior can be turned into a tiny home that you can enjoy all year-round,” Hello Wood explained. “Then there’s its environmental footprint; thanks to its low energy consumption and environmental focus, the cabin is also greener than a house built of non-renewable materials with conventional technologies.” The prefabricated timber elements of the Kabinka tiny cabin are constructed with a CNC machine. The base model construction is estimated to take between six to eight weeks; customization and extra features such as additional windows are available. Hello Wood developed the Kabinka as a DIY project that can be assembled without the need for skilled labor. The retail price, which is available upon request, does not include shipping, groundwork or assembly, but it does include technical documents and an assembly manual. + Hello Wood Images via Hello Wood

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Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

August 18, 2020 by  
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A vertical “secret garden”, green-roofed terraces and mountain-shaped massing define B+H Architects’ winning entry for the new Children’s Hospital and Science & Education Building in Shenzhen. Designed in collaboration with East China Architectural Design & Research Institute (ECADI), the proposed facility celebrates the local landscape by integrating lush plantings around and inside the urban campus. The hospital’s nature-filled interiors, ground-floor “urban living room” and vibrant color palette also aims to inspire awe and wonder in both the building occupants and the surrounding community. Selected as the unanimous first place winner in an international design competition held by the Shenzhen municipal government, the proposal takes inspiration from the mountains in the distance for its terraced massing with upper floors stepped back to form sky gardens. The new facility will be located to the west of the existing Shenzhen Children’s Hospital, which has been a landmark in the city’s Futian area since it was founded in 1998. Coined as a “once-in-a-lifetime” healthcare facility, the new campus will not only provide top-quality care for children but will also house facilities for advanced research and learning in pediatric medicine. Related: Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden “Children live very much in the present and can experience each moment very intensely — sights, sounds, scale, touch, colors and patterns hold delights and surprises that we as adults often overlook,” said Stephanie Costelloe, principal and director of Healthcare, Asia for B+H Architects. “We wanted to instill a sense of wonder in every corner which would celebrate their unique and joyful view of the world — whilst also encouraging adults to interact with the environment in a similarly social, playful and collaborative way.” The extensive use of greenery ties the hospital interiors to the adjacent Lianhuashan Park and is part of the architects’ vision to create a “unique micro-landscape” that helps building occupants engage with the surrounding landscape while providing therapeutic benefits. + B+H Architects Images via B+H Architects

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Winning design unveiled for nature-filled Shenzhen Childrens Hospital

Meet eBussy, the new modular, electric truck-to-van

August 12, 2020 by  
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The eBussy has a look and name like no other electric vehicle you’ve seen before. German company Electric Brands’s eBussy, short for electric bus system, proves that even larger vehicles can perform well without a trail of  carbon emissions pouring out the back. This 100% electric vehicle integrates  solar panels  to generate enough power for treks up to 200 km (124 miles) without a recharge. Thanks to reliable German innovation, the system regenerates energy from the braking system to add to the power supply too. With a full charge and power from the solar panels, the eBussy can roll up to 600 km (373 miles). Plus, the charge time is only a short three hours.  Related: Volkswagen reveals plans for mobile electric car charging robot Versatile, modular design makes the eBussy stand out. The vehicle features 10 interchangeable body parts that can turn it into a convertible, an offroad vehicle, a box body, station wagon, pickup, box van or camping bus in a few simple steps. The flatbed truck option even has a dumping feature to easily offload cargo. In addition to the remarkable body design options, the interior offers seating options and space configurations to haul either more passengers or more cargo. Even with all the configuration options, the eBussy remains light, weighing in at only 450-600 kg (around 1,100 pounds) in a stripped-down model. Adding function to the already fabulous vehicle, the eBussy can pack and carry up to 1,000 kg (around 2,200 lbs). That’s a lot of camping gear! With the option to recharge using your home outlet, a conventional charging station or solar power alone, eBussy speaks to sustainability. German locals can even swing by an exchange center to swap out drained batteries for fresh ones. Perhaps best of all, the eBussy is up to 98% recyclable , a huge advancement in the world of electric vehicles and green design.  + Electric Brands Images via Electric Brands

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The Lookout House celebrates site’s volcanic history

August 12, 2020 by  
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When  Faulkner Architects  was asked to design a house on a spectacular site in Truckee, California, the Placer County-based design practice allowed the beautiful landscape to dictate the design. The contemporary home, aptly named Lookout House for its views, emphasizes indoor/outdoor living with its full-height glazing and natural material palette. The home design also focuses on sustainability and energy efficiency, as seen in its mass-heavy concrete walls, radiant heated stone floors, R80 insulated roof and high-efficiency mechanical and lighting equipment.  Located at the base of a 3-million-year-old  volcano , the Lookout House is set on a north-facing 20-degree slope perched 6,300 feet above sea level, on a clearing surrounded by second-growth Jeffrey Pine and White Fir trees. In addition to contributing to the forest’s growth, the region’s volcanic history further defines the land with volcanic sediment and boulders as large as 15 feet in diameter.  To center views of the landscape, the architects partially inserted the building into the slope — a narrow slot in the home’s massing mirrors a cleared ski access near the site — and wrapped the home with insulated 20-inch  concrete  walls made from local sand and aggregate. Full-height openings and glazed sliding doors that open up the house to prevailing southwesterly winds punctuate the thick fire-resistant and low-maintenance steel-and-concrete facade. The minimalist palette continues inside, with parts of the entry and central staircase bathed in warm light from red-orange glass symbolic of cooling magma. Related: Weathering steel wraps around a solar-powered California home “Produced by layer upon layer of sketches and study that first seek to discover the existing attributes and characteristics of the place, this architecture does not reflect a singular concept or idea,” the architects explained. “The built place, including its appearance, is the product of the making of a series of experiences that together set the stage for life to unfold. The process is about an approach to problem-solving on a difficult but epic  alpine  site. The completed place envelopes the continuous space of the slope up to the south sun and mountain top that has existed for millions of years.” + Faulkner Architects Images via Joe Fletcher

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Modular, affordable housing project opens in Portland

July 8, 2020 by  
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Argyle Gardens, a newly-opened modular co-housing development, is providing affordable housing for individuals who formerly experienced homelessness and are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Portland, Oregon. Opened at the beginning of April 2020, the project houses 72 residents in studio and SRO-style units. Because of the offsite modular construction, development costs for the units were 31% lower than typical affordable housing projects and the construction schedule was shortened by four months. Argyle Gardens is located in the Kenton area of north Portland and features a modular design brought to the area by Transition Projects specifically to address the current times of hardship for those who need the most support. Related: Passive House-certified development offers affordable housing in South Bronx There are four buildings in total, the largest of which contains 36 apartments. The buildings are positioned around a large, central community space that includes laundry facilities and support service offices. In addition to the main apartment building, there are three co-housing structures, which each contain two six-bedroom pods, two shared bathrooms and a kitchen. Argyle Gardens is near the light rail, a public park, bus lines and the downtown and commercial shopping areas. By June 1, over half of the units have already been filled by low-income residents and people who formerly experienced homelessness. Going a step further, community-building programming and supportive services have already been implemented on the property. Residential activities such as a gardening club and cooking demonstrations have started as well. The project was designed by Portland firm Holst Architecture and features gable roof trusses and translucent polycarbonate panels. The modules can adapt to any area that allows duplexes while still working within the existing zoning codes for Portland. Despite the site’s steep and vegetated topography, the design team accomplished balance in the environmental considerations required for modular construction. The high-efficiency housing model can be replicated and modified by other modular builders around the country. + Holst Architecture Photography by Josh Partee and Portlandrone via Holst Architecture

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