Green-roofed Czech Forestry Headquarters seeks symbiosis with the forest

March 9, 2018 by  
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Imagine if your office was set in the middle of a forest—that’s the image Chybik + Kristof aims for in their competition-winning designs for the new Czech Forestry Headquarters. Located in Hradec Králové, the office building draws direct inspiration from the surrounding forest with its liberal use of timber, a facade evocative of tree trunks, and canopy-like green roofs that encourage bird nesting. The interiors continue the vision of the forest as a workplace with a calming environment full of greenery and natural materials. The Chybik + Kristof-led design team’s “Forestry in the Forest” proposal was born from an initial site visit. When the team explored the Hradec forest beyond the Lesy ?eské republiky campus, they noticed the dramatic temperature difference between the hot campus buildings and the cool forest . “We asked ourselves what we really are forced to work in the hot interior when it would be best to take your laptop among the trees and work in an environment full of peace? Peace,” wrote the architects. Related: Paris hopes to create a forest 5 times bigger than NYC’s Central Park The forest-inspired office is centered on an open courtyard from where buildings radiate outwards, following the design philosophy that “the building grows into a forest, and the forest into the building.” Natural daylight streams through the buildings which recreate the outdoor environment with exposed timber framework indoors, hanging plants, and a natural materials and color palette. A natural trail with educational signage winds around the building and take visitors through areas planted with particular species like spruce, beech and fir, and oak and hornbeams. + Chybik + Kristof Via ArchDaily Images via Chybik + Kristof

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Green-roofed Czech Forestry Headquarters seeks symbiosis with the forest

Low-impact Abbotsford Eco House uses recycled materials wherever possible in Melbourne

January 9, 2018 by  
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Recycled and reclaimed materials are fitted throughout the Abbotsford Eco House, a sustainable residence that earned a 7.5+ Green Star rating for its energy-efficient features. Design and planning company First Angle completed the home for a client seeking a sustainable low-impact home in Melbourne. In addition to recycled construction material, the designers also turn to recycling in other parts of structure from recaptured heat to recycled rainwater and treated gray water. The Abbotsford Eco House was built largely from materials sourced from the original home on site as well as reclaimed materials taken from local second-hand shops. To minimize energy usage, First Angle placed the residence on a north-east orientation for optimized cross ventilation and solar access for natural heating. Concrete mass stone-clad walls and polished concrete floors throughout the home capture heat during the day and dissipate it at night. Hydronic heating installed in the insulated concrete floor slab complements the natural heating. The designers also take advantage of the stack effect to naturally cool the home in summer. Related: Beautiful Northcote Solar Home shows off modern energy-efficient family living High-performance woolen thermal insulation and double-glazed windows help lock in internal temperatures. Harvested rainwater is reused for flushing toilets and irrigation. A treatment system filters and recycles gray water throughout the home. The interior decorating also echoes the eco-friendly ethos with some of the pieces also salvaged and repaired. + First Angle Photos by Catherine Bailey

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Low-impact Abbotsford Eco House uses recycled materials wherever possible in Melbourne

Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food

January 9, 2018 by  
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C.F. Møller has unveiled new renderings for the New Islands Brygge School, an innovative lower-secondary school that takes a more hands-on and experimental approach to learning. Located in the heart of Copenhagen , the 9,819-square-meter school will teach children how to harvest and cook the food grown in the rooftop garden. In addition to a landscaped roof, the building will feature rooftop solar panels and an array of energy-saving technologies. C.F. Møller Architects won the bid to design New Islands Brygge School in a competition last year. The school combines physical, sensory, and experience-based learning, which informed the architects’ vision to create a building that blurs the line between indoors and out. The triangular-shaped school takes design and material inspiration from the city, port and commons. Since food is a major theme of the school, a double-height dining hall is placed at the heart of the school to serve as the focal point and main hub. Two kitchens flank the canteen area. Students also interact with food in other ways through greenhouses and urban gardens, and even in outdoor kitchens and a campfire for open-air cooking. Physical activity is also important in the curriculum and so the architects created multiple outdoor recreation areas on the roof that include a running track, parkour area, and enclosed ball pitch. Related: Nation’s first K-8 urban farm school teaches kids how to grow their own food “The school’s interior and outdoor spaces are designed to be in close contact with each other,” wrote the architects. “Each class has direct access to the roof landscape from their home area, while the school’s natural science area is linked to an outdoor area with a biology garden, greenhouse for physics and chemistry, and the gardens.” The building is built to follow the strictest Danish low-energy code 2020 and includes ventilation with heat recovery, natural ventilation , day-light-controlled lighting, and a highly insulated envelope. + C.F. Møller Images via C.F. Møller

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Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food

Brilliant zero-energy air conditioner in India is beautiful and functional

September 14, 2017 by  
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New Delhi -based Ant Studio made a zero-electricity air conditioner to combat the brutally hot summers in India’s capital. Built for a DEKI Electronics factory, this low-tech, energy efficient, and artistic solution to the sweltering heat harnesses the power of evaporative cooling. The innovative honeycomb-like installation is made with conical clay tubes that naturally reduce the surrounding temperature. Built as part of a larger beautification project for DEKI Electronics, the innovative cooling installation is highly functional and adds an artistic flair to the factory. The shape and size of the beehive -inspired structure’s densely packed terra-cotta cones were determined using advanced computational analysis and modern calibration techniques. When water runs down the structure—it’s sufficient to wet the cones just once or twice a day—the process of evaporation gradually lowers the air temperature. The porous terra-cotta units absorb water that then seeps to the outer surface where it evaporates and turns into cold air. The flow of water empties out into a collection basic and gives the installation a beautiful waterfall effect. “I believe this experiment worked quite well functionally. Findings from this attempt opened up a lot more possibilities where we can integrate this technique with forms that could redefine the way we look at cooling systems, a necessary yet ignored component of a building’s functionality. Every installation could be treated as an art piece”, said Monish Siripurapu, founder of Ant Studio. “The circular profile can be changed into an artistic interpretation while the falling waters lend a comforting ambience. This, intermingled with the sensuous petrichor from the earthen cylinders, could allow for it to work in any environment with the slightest of breeze.” Related: 3D-printed “Cool Brick” cools a room using only water The prototype is capable of cooling hot air at above 50 degrees Celsius (122 degree Fahrenheit) to temperatures of less than 36 degree Celsius around the structure, while atmospheric temperature drops to 42 degrees Celsius. The architects see the honeycomb-shaped installation as a scalable low-tech solution for natural cooling, as well as an art installation that incorporates ancient craft methods. + Ant Studio Via ArchDaily Images via Ant Studio

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Brilliant zero-energy air conditioner in India is beautiful and functional

This green-roofed castle home in England is cooled by the ocean breeze

June 29, 2017 by  
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With its thick undulating walls and green roof , this villa in England translates the architecture of traditional Celtic fortifications into the language of sustainability. Tonkin Liu Architects ‘s Ness Point House is a castle-like structure that protects its occupants from the elements while achieving a high level of energy efficiency. The house occupies a cliff top site in Dover, South East England, and functions as an airtight shelter that utilizes passive and active sustainable design features. It utilizes heat recovery and solar thermal renewable systems to maximize energy efficiency in the winter, while the long gallery skylight and eco-vents enable passive cooling during the hot summer. Related: A green-roofed Hobbit home anyone can build in just 3 days The undulating plan and inclined sections create a cavernous internal space that offers flexibility of use and captures changing lighting conditions. As if growing out of the land, the house is covered in a vegetative roof that slopes downward at the rear of the site. + Tonkin Liu Architects Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Nick Guttridge

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This green-roofed castle home in England is cooled by the ocean breeze

New map provides clues into 500-million-year mystery in Earth’s past

June 29, 2017 by  
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1,000 to 520 million years ago, Earth’s climate was undergoing dramatic changes. From icy extremes in what some have termed Snowball Earth , to warmer conditions as an increase in oxygen led to the Cambrian explosion of biodiversity , it’s a period of the planet’s climate history we knew little about – until now. Scientists recently created the first ever global map of plate tectonics during this time, shedding light on their influence on other Earth systems. Tectonic plate movement helps researchers understand how life evolved and how Earth’s climate changed. But there was around a 500-million-year gap that a group of 12 researchers in Australia and Canada just filled in with their new map, which they describe as the “first whole-Earth plate tectonic map of half a billion years of Earth history .” Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion years old The researchers were able to draw up the map by studying rocks that formed near where tectonic plates meet or where they ripped apart. The rocks came from Brazil, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. The scientists said the work took them a few decades. Their map offers new details, further back in geological time, than we had before. Two of the co-authors on a paper in press at the journal Gondwana Research wrote a piece for The Conversation detailing their map and the role of plate tectonics in our planet’s climate and the evolution of life. Andrew Merdith of the University of Sydney and Alan Collins of the University of Adelaide said the lack of ancient tectonic maps has made it difficult for researchers trying to unravel the mysteries of the past. They wrote, “Understand ancient plate tectonics and we go someway to understanding the ancient Earth system. And the Earth as it is today, and into the future.” Via The Conversation Images via Andrew S. Merdith, et al.

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New map provides clues into 500-million-year mystery in Earth’s past

Church built for $35k stays naturally cool in Malawi

May 1, 2017 by  
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Design nonprofit Architecture for a Change continues their life-changing work with the completion of a new church for the Chimphamba community in Malawi. Built to replace a dilapidated community center, the Rural Church draws inspiration from the traditional African drum with its circular floor plan. The building relies on the thermal mass of earthen bricks, wall openings, and a ventilation tower to stay naturally cool in Malawi’s subtropical heat. Created in collaboration with Youth of Malawi and the chiefs of the Chimphamba community, Architecture for a Change’s Rural Church was designed to meet the skill set of local builders while providing some new learning opportunities. The building was constructed with a cylindrical form, a shape that symbolizes safety and protection in the community. Citing the community’s use of cylindrical chicken coops and maize storage containers, the architects say the Christian church’s shape “was used as a metaphor for the design: as space that will protect and safeguard the sense of community in Chimphamba.” Three boxes, built of locally burnt red brick to match the rural vernacular, are inserted into the round building. The first box serves as a foyer while a second, taller box uses the stack effect to function as a ventilation tower for natural cooling . Using temperature differences and lower air pressures at higher heights, the ventilation tower passively pulls hot air to the top of the building and sucks fresh air into the building. Related: Architecture For a Change Designs Lightweight Church for South African Zandspruit Community Small holes punctuate the building to let in natural light and ventilation. The church’s roof symbolizes a Christian cross and is covered with translucent roof sheeting to allow additional natural light in. The building was completed in early 2017 with a budget of $35,000 USD. + Architecture for a Change Images via Architecture for a Change

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Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments

January 2, 2017 by  
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Water scarcity is felt unequally throughout the world with some regions worse off than others. Iran-based BMDesign Studios addressed their home country’s arid climates with an architectural solution to water shortages called Concave Roof, a double-roof system designed to collect and store rainwater, and promote natural cooling. The Concave Roof was engineered for arid environments, where rainwater collection can be tricky due to higher than average evaporation rates and low annual precipitation. The double-roof system, which includes a domed roof beneath a bowl-shaped catchment area, is designed to “help [make] even the smallest quantities of rain [flow down] the roof and eventually coalesce into bigger drops, just right for harvesting before they evaporate,” said the architects to ArchDaily . Stacking a concave roof atop a convex roof promotes natural cooling through shade and wind movement between the two roofs. Related: Rammed earth house blends traditional materials with modern techniques in Vietnam’s last frontier The bowl-shaped catchment area is steeply sloped to move raindrops towards a central collection point, where the rain is funneled into reservoirs . The reservoirs are placed between building walls to help regulate indoor temperatures. With this system, the architects estimate that 28 cubic meters of water could be harvested with just 923 square meters of a concave roof surface. BMDesign Studios’ vision also goes beyond the double-roof system and includes a massing design where the buildings and courtyards are sunken to promote natural cooling. The buildings would be organized around atriums to promote circulation and community. + BMDesign Studios Via ArchDaily Images via BMDesign Studios

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Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments

Naturally-cooled Toronto home boasts a beautiful multi-level indoor garden

August 16, 2016 by  
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The house, designed as an infill residential project, occupies a corner lot in Toronto’s North York neighborhood. It seems to grow upwards with the development of the indoor garden that starts at the basement level. Strategically placed narrow windows protect the residents from outside views, while harvesting natural light throughout the day. By placing spaces that require a high level of privacy on the street level, and defining the courtyard on the lower level, the architects created a structure that protects its inhabitants from the city noise. Related: Gorgeous Green House is Wrapped in a Lush Vertical Garden in Belgium The house boosts several passive sustainable features. The architects ensured that the interior gets enough natural light, while retaining a sense of privacy. Any excessive heat is avoided by offsetting the large skylight on the top floor with a combination of openings that facilitate natural ventilation . + Alva Roy Architects Via v2com Photos by Tom Arban and Navid Aali

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Naturally-cooled Toronto home boasts a beautiful multi-level indoor garden

New NASA data confirms July 2016 was the hottest month on record

August 16, 2016 by  
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Newly released data from NASA indicates July was the hottest month on record , since scientists began tracking global temperatures in 1880. This July was 1.51 degrees Fahrenheit (0.84 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1950-1980 global average, and a fraction of a degree hotter than the two months tied for the previous “hottest month ever” record. The conflux of climate change related to human activity and the warming effects of El Niño contributed to this summer’s soaring temperatures, and climate experts expect to see more record high temps in the future. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JK7NV2YheGk If it seems as though there have been a lot of record-breaking high temps lately, it’s because there have. July was the 10th consecutive record hot month in a row, according to NASA . The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hasn’t yet released its temperature calculations for July, but they are expected on Wednesday of this week. NOAA uses slightly different calculations, compared to NASA, so its conclusions may not match up. (For example, NOAA’s figures count 14 consecutive monthly heat records before July, compared to NASA’s 10.) Related: February’s record high temperatures are bringing us too close to 2°C limit Despite this year’s El Niño season loosening its grip on the weather, global temperatures continue to rise. NASA looks to a number of factors when calculating its global temperatures, including surface temperatures and the extent of Arctic sea ice. Over the first six months of 2016, NASA reports temperatures were the highest average of any six-month period since record keeping began. Via Phys.org Images via Swen George/Flickr

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New NASA data confirms July 2016 was the hottest month on record

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