Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

September 14, 2017 by  
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Australia’s first carbon positive and zero waste home to achieve a “10 Star” energy rating has popped up in Cape Paterson, Victoria. Designed in collaboration with Clare Cousin Architects , this impressive dwelling is one of the latest projects produced by The Sociable Weaver , an innovative design and build company that creates affordable, beautiful, and sustainable architect-designed homes for the masses. The coastal home, called the ’10 Star Home’ after its energy rating, is naturally heated and cooled thanks to passive solar strategies and maintains comfortable indoor temperatures year-round, even in mid-winter. Built in the green coastal development The Cape, the 10 Star Home is permanently open to the public as a display home to educate architects, builders, and students on sustainable architecture . The Sociable Weaver and Clare Cousin Architects considered all aspects of the home, from the building materials to the bedsheets, to achieve their stringent requirements for sustainability, affordability, and social responsibility. The architects even worked with suppliers to reduce packaging delivered to the construction site, and recycled and reused material wherever possible, such as composting plasterboard off-cuts in the garden. A five-kilowatt rooftop solar panel powers the home, which experiences minimal energy loss thanks to superior under-slab insulation, industrial concrete floors that improve thermal mass, and double-glazed windows. The hardwood used is FSC-certified . Non-toxic materials line the interiors, from natural sealants and paints for the floors, walls, and ceilings, to organic and sustainable furnishings like the organic cotton bedding. The display home is fully furnished and decorated with hand-selected products that are stylish and beautiful, yet meet high environmental standards. Related: A Tiny Timber Box in a Tiny Urban Flat Makes Room for a Couple’s First Child In addition to environmentally conscious building practices, the 10 Star Home is designed to inspire a more sustainable lifestyle. The architects followed Building Biology principles to create an edible garden where occupants are encouraged to compost and grow their own food. To keep the home healthy and non-toxic, the 10 Star Home is also equipped with a “green switch” that turns off all power to the home, except for the fridge, so that occupants can reduce the impact of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) at night. “Through Life Cycle Analysis by eTool, modelling shows that over the lifetime of the home, the 10 Star Home will not only negate its carbon footprint but will positively exceed it,” said The Sociable Weaver, according to Dezeen . “This equates to 203 kilograms of carbon emissions saved per year per occupant, equivalent to planting 9.55 million trees or removing 48 million balloons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.” + The Sociable Weaver + Clare Cousin Architects Via Dezeen Images via The Sociable Weaver

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Australias first carbon-positive and zero-waste home is built of non-toxic materials

A lacy skin fills this Kenyan apartment building with sunlight and fresh air

August 28, 2017 by  
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This modern apartment building in Mombasa, Kenya is wrapped with a lacy structural skin that allows natural light to filter inside. Urko Sánchez Architects wrapped the building in two layers: the first acts as a barrier against excessive heat and sunlight. The second layer, comprised of handcrafted wood-lattice shutters , further manages light and provides privacy. The building occupies a narrow, sloping lot located on the waterfront of Tudor Creek, Mombasa. This privileged location offers stunning breathtaking panoramic views on the creek. In order to ensure optimal privacy, the architects designed a two-layer shell that provides natural ventilation and prevents heat gain . The facade is inspired by traditional Swahili design and redirects the tendency of local people to put bars on their windows. Related: Lace-like screen inspired by Portuguese tiles cover the rear facade of the charming Restelo House in Lisbon Vegetation is integrated in the patios and on the terraces , offering freshness and greenery. The patios allow natural ventilation via permeable wood lattices facing the water. They are accessible via lateral stairs that descend towards the creek, passing by an integrated gym at the bottom, and arriving to an infinity pool. Related: Ofis’ Colorful Lace Apartment Complex is Wrapped in a Sun-Shading Facade “The skin was rendered entirely structural thanks to the engineering team,” said the architects. “A novelty to Kenya, such structural skin was possible thanks to local and international engineers working hand by hand, and to the steel workers on-site who managed, by dedication and care, flawless bar bending work without access to any technology,” they added. + Urko Sánchez Architects Via World Architecture News Photos by Javier Callejas

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A lacy skin fills this Kenyan apartment building with sunlight and fresh air

Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint

August 9, 2017 by  
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Thailand’s eco-friendly Panyaden International School has added a stunning new sports hall to its campus that’s built entirely of bamboo and stays naturally cool year-round in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Designed by Chiangmai Life Construction , the Bamboo Sports Hall features a modern organic design that draws inspiration from the lotus flower. The large multipurpose facility was built to withstand local natural forces including high-speed winds and earthquakes, and boasts a zero-carbon footprint. Completed this year, the Bamboo Sports Hall features a lotus-like organic shape in a nod to Panyaden International School’s use of Buddhist values in its academic curriculum. Its undulating shape also reflects the surrounding hilly topography. The 782-square-meter open-air building is supported with a series of arches and topped with three petal-like round roofs lifted up at the edges to let in natural ventilation and indirect light. The multipurpose facility can accommodate 300 students and includes futsal, basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts, as well as a stage that can be lifted automatically, and storage room for sports and drama equipment. Viewing balconies flank the sporting area and stage. Related: Chiangmai Life Construction creates homes using rammed earth, bamboo and recycled wood Bamboo was selected as the primary building material to maintain Panyaden’s “Green School” mission of a low carbon footprint and to blend in with the school’s existing earth-and-bamboo buildings. “Panyaden’s Sports Hall’s carbon footprint is zero,” write the architects. “The bamboo used absorbed carbon to a much higher extent than the carbon emitted during treatment, transport and construction.” The large openings for natural ventilation, insulation, and use of bamboo help create a comfortable indoor climate year-round. No toxic chemicals were used to treat the bamboo, which has an expected lifespan of at least 50 years. The exposed prefabricated bamboo trusses span over 17 meters. “Here we show how bamboo can create a space that is 15 meters wide and high without any steel reinforcements,” wrote the architects. “From the outside it looks like it has grown there or transformed from one of the rolling hills in the background to become a human artifice. As in fact the Panyaden International School Sports Hall is a combination of careful artistic design, beautiful detailed handicraft and major construction.” + Chiangmai Life Construction Via ArchDaily Images © Alberto Cosi, Markus Roselieb, Chiangmai Life Construction

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Breathtaking bamboo building withstands earthquakes and boasts a zero-carbon footprint

Naturally cooled Otunba Offices has a small footprint but a large social impact

June 9, 2017 by  
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This low-cost sustainable office building in Lagos, Nigeria, can be easily and affordably replicated anywhere in the world. With its minimal footprint and ample public space, the design allows work productivity to flourish while nurturing a sense of community. The innovative space by Domaine Public Architects  features passive house principles including natural ventilation and the clever use of vegetation to minimize energy use. Affordability and replicability were the main ideas behind the Otunba Offices, a new low-cost office building prototype that can be built anywhere with minimal financial impact on project budget. The building lessens its impact on the environment by minimizing its footprint and expanding upper floors. This design approach allowed the architects to form communal areas that communicate with the neighborhood and the city and provide multi-purpose areas for social interaction. Related: WOHA revamps Singapore office with lush ‘pocket parks’ The project utilizes passive house principles to achieve a high energy performance. Its orientation provides natural shading, while a double layer of vegetation, flexible louvers and natural ventilation lower the reliance on mechanical cooling systems. The concept, currently under construction, has received commendation by the jury of AR Future Projects Awards, in the “Offices” category. + Domaine Public Architects Via v2com

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Naturally cooled Otunba Offices has a small footprint but a large social impact

Zaha Hadid Architects completes first phase of Italys solar-powered high-speed rail hub

June 9, 2017 by  
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Italy is moving full steam ahead on the expansion of high-speed rail. The country recently celebrated inauguration for the first phase of the Napoli Afragola station, a solar-powered high-speed rail hub and major gateway to the south of Italy. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the eye-catching station, which doubles as a pedestrian bridge, and integrated energy-efficient systems such as solar panels and ground source heating and cooling. Located 12 kilometers north of Naples , the Napoli Afragola station will serve four high-speed intercity lines, three inter-regional lines, and a local commuter line. Once complete, the station will connect the 15 million residents of the surrounding southern communities with the national rail network to the north and Europe beyond. An estimated 32,700 passengers are expected to use the station daily once all lines are operational. Zaha Hadid Architects designed the Napoli Afragola station to double as a public bridge connecting communities on either side of the railway. “The design enlarges the public walkway over the eight railway tracks to such a degree that this walkway becomes the station’s main passenger concourse – a bridge housing all the services and facilities for departing, arriving and connecting passengers, with direct access to all platforms below,” write the architects. The elevated station also offers much-needed new public space for the area in addition to shops and other amenities. Related: Wind power now runs all electric passenger trains in the Netherlands Designed as “an extrusion of a trapezoid along a 450-meter curved path,” the sculptural station is constructed with a reinforced concrete base with 200 differently shaped steel ribs clad in Corian and a glazed roof. Natural light pours into the station through the glazed roof to minimize demands on artificial lighting. Integrated solar panels on the roof, natural ventilation, and ground source cooling and heating systems also reduce energy consumption. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Jacopo Spilimbergo

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Zaha Hadid Architects completes first phase of Italys solar-powered high-speed rail hub

LEED Gold home brings modern luxury to a Colorado working ranch

May 24, 2017 by  
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LEED-certified luxury living comes to a working ranch in Eagle County, Colorado. CCY Architects designed the Gambel Oaks Ranch, a lovely low-lying home that blends into its surroundings and is imperceptible from public roadways. In addition to its beauty, the 5,687-square-foot property achieved LEED Gold certification for its innovative use of a horizontal loop field ground-source heat pump, solar array, and other energy-saving techniques. The three-bedroom, predominately one-story Gambel Oaks Ranch sits low on the landscape and follows the natural topography so as to minimize the home’s visual impact on the environment. Panoramic views to the south are prioritized in the design and revealed in a carefully choreographed sequence. “Entering the home, the view is released by a series of layers building from interior to exterior space, pool terrace, pasture, distant lake, and mountain peaks,” write the architects. Related: Tiny modern cube home boasts spectacular desert views Corten steel volumes divide the interior into different zones, with private areas housed within the steel boxes including the master suite, guest suite, and garage. The public gathering spaces occupy the voids and flow into outdoor entertaining areas. The material palette of the interior and exterior spaces reference the landscape, from the gabion walls filled with locally sourced stone to the beetle-kill pine and Blue Ledge Stone that match the color of the distant mountains. + CCY Architects Via Dezeen Images via CCY Architects

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LEED Gold home brings modern luxury to a Colorado working ranch

Amazing plastic bottle architecture withstands earthquakes in Taipei

May 15, 2017 by  
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Plastic bottle architecture is fantastic at turning a problem into an eco-friendly opportunity. The amazing EcoARK in Taipei , Taiwan is one such example. Built from 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles, this massive pavilion is surprisingly strong enough to withstand the forces of nature—including fires and earthquakes! Designed by architect Arthur Huang, the nine-story $3 million USD pavilion is powered by solar energy and was built to the mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.” Constructed for use as an exhibition hall during the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo, the EcoARK pavilion continues to spread its message of sustainability for seven years strong. Though Taiwan is home to one of the world’s most respected recycling programs, the country consumes a whopping 4.5 million PET bottles a year. To spread awareness about plastic waste, the Far Eastern Group , one of the world’s largest producers of PET products, commissioned architect and Miniwiz founder Arthur Huang to design and build the eco-friendly EcoARK. As the world’s first building of its kind, EcoARK is an incredible architectural feat. The key to the EcoARK design lay with polli-bricks, a hollow building block made of recycled PET developed by Miniwiz. The polli-bricks were manufactured from over a million recycled plastic bottles melted down into PET pellets and re-engineered into a new bottle-like shape. The blow-molded polli-bricks feature interlocking grooves that fit tightly together like LEGOs and only require a small amount of silicon sealant. Once assembled into flat rectangular panels, the polli-bricks are coated with a fire- and water-resistant film. The EcoARK’s curved and transparent facade is made up of these modular panels screwed and mounted onto a structural steel frame. Although the EcoARK weighs half as much as conventional buildings, it’s resistant to earthquakes and typhoons, and can withstand sustained winds up of to 130 kilometers per hour. Related: Basurama transforms landfill trash into playgrounds in Taipei Use of recycled plastic bottles isn’t the only eco-friendly feature of the EcoARK. The pavilion was built with low-carbon building techniques to maintain a zero-carbon footprint during operation. The building stays cool without air conditioning thanks to natural ventilation. The air inside the polli-bricks also provides insulation from heat and rainwater is collected and reused to cool the building. The polli-bricks’ transparency allows natural light to illuminate the interior during the day. Solar – and wind-powered systems generate the electricity needed to power 40,000 LEDs that light the building up at night. + Miniwiz Images © Lucy Wang

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Amazing plastic bottle architecture withstands earthquakes in Taipei

Escape into the glass rivers and lakes of these beautiful wood tables

May 15, 2017 by  
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If getting lost in a coffee table sounds improbable, you may change your mind once you see these beautiful furnishings. Artist and designer Greg Klassen transforms reclaimed wood into mesmerizing works of art embedded with glass rivers and lakes. Klassen, who we’ve featured previously , handcrafts unique pieces that mimic topographic forms in the Pacific Northwest. Spotted by This is Colossal , Klassen’s newest works include a variety of coffee tables of different sizes and shapes, as well as wall hangings. “The collection is inspired by the exciting edges and vivid grains found in the trees sustainably taken from the banks of the Nooksack River that twists below my studio,” wrote Klassen. Related: Amazing Abyss Table Layers Glass and Wood to Mimic the Depths of the Ocean Blue Klassen uses a variety of reclaimed wood including maple, cottonwood, walnut, and sycamore. He uses the wood’s existing edges to inform the shape of waterways hand-cut from tempered blue glass. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and sells for thousands of U.S. dollars. + Greg Klassen Via This is Colossal Images via Greg Klassen

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Escape into the glass rivers and lakes of these beautiful wood tables

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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Church built for $35k stays naturally cool in Malawi

Natural ventilation and light filters through this glittering perforated facade

February 17, 2017 by  
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Photo by W Workspace The natural environment permeates through the faceted,  perforated facade of this shopping center in Bankok. Taiwan-based studio Architectkidd designed the project, named The Street Ratchada, by renovating an existing retail development and combining Thailand’s traditional metalwork techniques with digital design to create an engaging envelope that allows air and light to filter through the porous diamond panels. The building features a semi-outdoor atrium , a variety of programs and public activities that help embed the project into the existing urban tissue of Bangkok . Traditionally planned interior gave way to a more flexible layout. Related: Architectkidd’s Blue Bird Hut saves injured birds in Thailand One of the building’s most prominent features is its facade which creates an inviting glow from within at night. Gradient transparencies of the panels facilitate natural ventilation and ever-changing lighting conditions. The metallic surface has a monumental appearance, while delicately influencing the use of the building by functioning as a porous layer composed of triangulated, uniquely cut slivers. + Architectkidd Lead photo by Luke Yeung

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Natural ventilation and light filters through this glittering perforated facade

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