Foster + Partners London playground is built of natural and sustainable materials

November 7, 2017 by  
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A new urban oasis for school children in London combines sustainable design with holistic learning. Foster + Partners completed the Ashburnham School Playground in partnership with The Bryan Adams Foundation and playground designers Made From Scratch . The playground brings nature into the city with a variety of natural environments, from the beach sandpit to a bamboo grove, and also integrates rainwater collection. Providing environments for play is especially important in cities, where concrete tends to dominate the landscape. In place of Ashburnham School Playground’s existing asphalt play areas, Foster + Partners added a mix of hard and soft natural surfaces, emphasizing multi-sensory stimulation through a varied environment with landscaping that is low maintenance but provides seasonal variety throughout the year. The plantings were also selected to counteract air and noise pollution. Related: Seattle man wants the whole community to enjoy his recycled backyard playground Among the highlights of the new playground is a handcrafted timber treehouse built into the school’s largest tree, and the main climbing structure, over four meters tall, that takes inspiration from a dense jungle landscape with its tangle of logs, balance beams, rope bridges, nets, and green climbing vines. The refurbished playground also includes a beach sandpit flanked by boulders and untreated timber, custom-built steel and timber troughs that hold collected rainwater, a nest swing nestled in a bamboo grove, a living willow pod, sports pitches and a landscaped amphitheater. + Foster + Partners Images via Aaron Hargreaves / Foster + Partners and Ashburnham Community School

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Foster + Partners London playground is built of natural and sustainable materials

We will close the loop on waste by 2030

September 13, 2017 by  
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Closed Loop Partners finds the “take-make-waste” cycle giving way to a new model just as powerful as the rise of solar and wind energy.

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We will close the loop on waste by 2030

Modular WonderFrame sun shade structure turns this building into an energy efficient marvel

September 6, 2017 by  
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Students will learn sustainable building principles at a seriously green new academic building at Universidad EAN . The 215,278 square foot building in Bogotá, Colombia will feature the endlessly reusable and recyclable WonderFrame shade structure, designed by Cradle to Cradle founder William McDonough . The modular system includes perforated panels that can both shade and allow daylight to filter through, almost like tree leaves. Inhabitat spoke with McDonough and lead architect Roger Schickedantz about the building, called Project Legacy, which is McDonough’s first Cradle to Cradle-inspired signature building in Latin America. McDonough originally designed the WonderFrame as a temporary structure at the 2016 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Schickedantz said at Universidad EAN, 11.5 by 8.6 foot modules will be anchored to the facade of Project Legacy. Each module includes around 30 perforated, painted steel sheet triangles. While this WonderFrame is intended to be permanent, Schickedantz said it could be deconstructed and put together somewhere else as the WonderFrame is put together with bolts. Shade panels can also be moved around in the frame to change the way light enters the building. Related: INHABITAT INTERVIEW: Green Architect & Cradle to Cradle Founder William McDonough “WonderFrame is based on experiments we’ve been doing for inexpensive structural solutions for roofs and floors that are invisible,” McDonough told Inhabitat. “Here, it is used as a delightful skin of human expression. It allows for flexible adaptation for color, for solar collectors, for light and shade. Someday, perhaps even for planters .” The WonderFrame will blanket roughly 85 percent of the building’s facade, making it the largest installation of the system so far. And the design is meant to reflect Colombian culture. Schickedantz told Inhabitat, “Colombia has a rich indigenous culture which celebrates color and pattern. The shade pattern designed for the WonderFrame provides a modern, graphically expressive interpretation… The WonderFrame establishes a dialogue with a 2011 building designed by Daniel Bonilla, which anchors the campus block. The Bonilla building is covered in multi-hued green ribbon sunshades. The William McDonough + Partners building generates a new complementary and contrasting composition which joins the two buildings in a unified whole.” The WonderFrame is just the start of the building’s sustainability . The LEED Gold -seeking building will include solar chimneys to allow for natural ventilation. Rooftop solar will help power the building. Cradle to Cradle certified fabric and auditorium seating will comprise some of the building materials. Universidad EAN students will accompany the design team in interviews with vendors, according to Schickedantz, for the building where they will one day learn Cradle to Cradle Concepts. He told Inhabitat, “Ultimately, the intent is to inspire students to develop and market their own products. We envision a new generation of products which incorporate circular economy concepts and improve the world.” Groundbreaking is expected later this year. + William McDonough + Partners Images courtesy of William McDonough + Partners

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Modular WonderFrame sun shade structure turns this building into an energy efficient marvel

Staggered volumes help make Portland’s Slate building an energy-efficient marvel

August 15, 2017 by  
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Portland, Oregon’s new mixed-use development , known as Slate, consists of a shifting stack of volumes that reflect the vibrancy and complexity of the neighborhood. The development, designed by Works Progress Architecture for co-developers Urban Development Partners and Beam Development , earned  LEED Gold certification as an energy-efficient complex that takes the curtain-wall system to the next level. The 10-story development has six floors of apartment units, up to four floors of co-working office spaces and around 7,800 square feet of retail space at street level. Its modular, rectangular shapes have a sculptural quality on the east and west elevations, while a flat, clean look dominates the north and south side of the building. Related: Oregon’s Largest Education Building Achieves LEED Platinum Certification The architects worked closely with the glazing contractor to create a unitized curtain-wall system. Dallas Glass installed Wausau Window and Wall Systems, which can be put in place in a fraction of the time needed to install field-glazed systems. Related: Cherokee Mixed-Use Lofts is a LEED Platinum Award Winning Design The facade was thermally improved to respond to the challenges of Portland ‘s climate. This thermal barrier is combined with solar-control, low-e, insulating glass to achieve a high performance for solar heat gain control, condensation resistance and high visible light transmittance. The system also facilitates optimal natural ventilation in order to reduce the reliance of HVAC systems. + Works Progress Architecture Photos by Joshua Jay Elliott , courtesy of Works Progress Architecture

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Staggered volumes help make Portland’s Slate building an energy-efficient marvel

Floating ring-shaped memorial celebrates Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai

February 16, 2017 by  
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This ring-shaped memorial dedicated to internationally renowned Kenyan environmental political activist and Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, celebrates human rights and environmental conservation. Boogertman + Partners architects designed the circular form to emphasize the notion of “walks and talks”, solidifying Wangari’s enduring legacy. A long timber-decked route leads visitors over a body of water to the main entrance of the memorial located beneath the structural floating ring. The underside rests on the terrain which envelops an auditorium at the rear. The simple circular form unfolds the life of Wangari as a conversation en route, referencing her legacy and a childhood sense of wonder. Related: Inhabitat talks with NYC’s 9/11 Memorial designer Michael Arad The building houses the main exhibition space , library, conference centre and functional areas. The courtyard , enveloped by the ring, contains an amphitheater , a mausoleum and a subterranean space. + Boogertman + Partners  Via v2com

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Floating ring-shaped memorial celebrates Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai

"Extraordinary" levels of pollution found in deepest parts of the ocean

February 16, 2017 by  
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To paraphrase the immortal words of Diana Ross and the Supremes, ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough to keep us from mucking it up. Case in point? The Pacific Ocean’s Mariana and Kermadec trenches, both tens of thousands of feet deep, remain two of the planet’s most inaccessible reaches. But even they are not immune to environmental damage from humans. Samples of amphipods—tiny, shrimp-like scavengers who call these dark, impenetrable depths home—have revealed “extraordinary levels” of persistent organic pollutants , according to new research. These included long-banned or restricted chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, both of which are thought to cause neurological, immune, and reproductive issues, or even cancer. As published in the latest edition of Nature Ecology & Evolution , the findings offer a stark reminder of the extent of mankind’s impact. The Mariana and Kermadec trenches are 4,300 miles apart, yet toxic compounds were found “in all samples across all species at all depths in both trenches,” the researchers wrote. Startlingly, the amphipods they sampled contained levels of contamination similar to those found in Japan’s Suruga Bay, a hotbed of industrial pollution. In the Mariana, the highest levels of PCBs were 50 times more concentrated than those found in crabs living in flooded plains fed by one of China’s most tainted rivers. “We still think of the deep ocean as being this remote and pristine realm, safe from human impact, but our research shows that, sadly, this could not be further from the truth,” Alan Jamieson, a biologist from Newcastle University who led the study, said in a statement. Related: James Cameron completes historic dive into deepest point on the planet How the pollutants found their way into these extreme locales, which are characterized by immense pressure and a lack of light, is still a matter of conjecture, though the scientists have their suspicions. The chemicals may have found their way to the trenches through contaminated plastic waste and animal carcasses, which, like everything else in the ocean, eventually sink to the floor, where they’re devoured by resident fauna. Because pollutants accumulate through the food chain, by the time they reach the deep ocean, they’re many times more concentrated than they were in shallower waters. The compounds could recirculate back to the surface as scavengers like amphipods fall prey to larger predators. (To quote another song, it’s “the circle of life.”) “This research shows that far from being remote the deep ocean is highly connected to the surface waters. We’re very good at taking an ‘out of sight out of mind’ approach when it comes to the deep ocean but we can’t afford to be complacent,” Jamieson said. “The fact that we found such extraordinary levels of these pollutants in one of the most remote and inaccessible habitats on earth really brings home the long term, devastating impact that mankind is having on the planet.” He added: “It’s not a great legacy that we’re leaving behind.” + Newcastle University

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Self-assembling shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing

February 16, 2017 by  
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Emergency shelter design is becoming increasingly important due to the various refugee situations occurring around the world. Although some designs have already been awarded for their crucial role in providing emergency housing, other forward-thinking designers such as Haresh Lalvani are actively working to create a biomimicry-based system where shelter structures would be able to assemble themselves. As cofounder of the Pratt Institute Center for Experimental Structures , Lalvani is employing a “wildly interdisciplinary range of tools” to create a type of generative geometry that would be able to assemble and repair, grow, and evolve all on its own. The designer is using concepts found in biology, mathematics, computer science and art to create systems where matter would start encoding information, a similar process to that of stem cells and genes in the human body. Lalvani explains that these biological systems are “the only place where software and hardware are the same thing.” Related: ASU’s new Biomimicry Center offers first-ever master’s degree in biomimicry https://youtu.be/fh-fMUo0Kjk Using biomimicry as inspiration, Lalvani is testing the potential of giving physical objects the power to assemble through a similar system of genomic instructions encoded into the raw material. His prototypes stem from a concrete and humanitarian approach that could potentially create, for example, rapidly deployable disaster housing . Creating an “inherently ephemeral building type”, however, is no easy task, and one that requires a futuristic level of technology. Working with metal fabricator, Milgo/Bufkin, Lalvani has managed to convert 2D sheets of perforated metals into rigid 3D structures using a computer controlled laser cutter that perforates “variable openings” into the sheets. Using a force such as gravity for instance, the spaces can be pulled apart or stretched, therefore creating another, more flexible form that is completely distinct from the original material. This type of installation could be a potential game changer for shelter design considering some of Lalvani’s installations take less than one minute to bend into shape. Additionally exciting is the fact that the raw material is just one thin sheet of metal, and can be easily transported and requires no tools for assembly, making it especially useful for emergency situations. + Haresh Lalvani + Pratt Institute Center for Experimental Structures Via Archdaily Images via Haresh Lalvani

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Self-assembling shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing

Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight

February 16, 2017 by  
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There’s another continent on Earth , and it’s been lurking in plain view for a long time. Geologists have traditionally identified six continents, combining Asia and Europe into Eurasia, but a new study reveals New Zealand and New Caledonia are actually part of a seventh geologic continent called Zealandia. In the Geological Society of America ‘s journal GSA Today , 11 scientists from institutions in New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Australia revealed the find. They claim New Caledonia and New Zealand aren’t just an island chain as was once thought, but are part of one 1.89 million square mile piece of continental crust that comprises Zealandia. Once part of the supercontinent Gondwana, now just around five percent of Zealandia is above the ocean’s surface. Related: Scientists find evidence of lost continent beneath Mauritius To discern a continent, geologists consider four criteria: first, elevation above the ocean floor; second, if igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks can found; third, if the land is comprised of a thicker piece of crust compared against the ocean floor; and fourth, if there clearly defined limits around an area bigger than a continental fragment or microcontinent. Geologists have known for decades New Zealand and New Caledonia fit criteria one through three, but in their new study, the 11 scientists drew on satellite gravity data to help recognize Zealandia as a continent around the size of greater India. If you think you’ve heard the word ‘Zealandia’ before, it’s because geophysicist Bruce Luyendyk, who wasn’t part of the new study, coined the name back in 1995, to refer to the two islands and other submerged pieces of crust that once broke off Gondwana. Luyendyk said he wasn’t trying to describe a new continent then, but he thinks the scientists’ find will be accepted. He told Business Insider, “These people here are A-list earth scientists. I think they have put together a solid collection of evidence that’s really thorough. I don’t see that there’s going to be a lot of pushback, except maybe around the edges.” Luyendyk said there are clear economic implications to the study. United Nations agreements often describe continental shelves as boundaries that help determine resource extraction, and according to Business Insider New Zealand might have tens of billions of dollars of minerals and fossil fuels near its shores. Via Business Insider Images via Wikimedia Commons and N. Mortimer, et al./GSA Today

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Construction commences on Polands tallest tower designed by Foster + Partners

January 12, 2017 by  
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Construction has begun on Varso Tower, a skyscraper designed by Foster + Partners that will be the tallest tower in Poland once complete. International real estate developer HB Reavis is leading the construction of the flagship development, which will comprise three buildings, the tallest of which will top out at 54 stories. Located in Warsaw, Varso will employ energy efficient and environmentally friendly technologies and will be the first project of its scale in Poland to achieve BREEAM Outstanding certification. Foster + Partners designed the 310-meter-tall Varso Tower to include large and flexible modern office spaces, as well as a two-story restaurant and an observation deck that will be one of Europe’s highest at 230 meters. The building will also include shops, restaurants, and cafes on the ground levels that will connect to vibrant covered internal streets open to the public year-round. Hermanowicz Rewski Architects designed the two smaller office buildings that flank the Varso Tower, which will feature green roof -topped terraces. Related: Foster + Partners breaks ground on major transit-oriented project in downtown San Francisco The 140,000-square-meter Varso development is being constructed next to Warsaw’s Central Railway Station and is expected to spur new life and development into the centrally located brownfield area. “We believe that Varso Tower will have a unique place on Warsaw’s skyline, but most importantly it will establish a new destination capable of revitalising this urban quarter, right in the heart of the city. The building contains high-quality and flexible office space, but it also makes an important contribution to the city with its glazed public courtyard at ground level and the spectacular viewing platforms with restaurants at the top. These public galleries offer panoramic views of the city to everyone. We are really looking forward to construction,” said Grant Brooker, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners, leading the design team in London. The development is scheduled for completion in 2020. + Foster + Partners

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Foster + Partners China Resources University opens in Shenzhen

November 1, 2016 by  
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Set atop a hill, the new China Resources University overlooks views towards the South China Sea and accommodates hundreds of students. The campus comprises a management training institute, residential buildings, five teaching building, an invention center, auditoria, library, and gym. The campus is connected to a larger mixed-use development , also designed by Foster + Partners, that includes a hotel, clubhouse, retail, and other residences. Related: Foster + Partners breaks ground on Ferring Pharamceuticals’ headquarters in Copenhagen “The idea was to create a cascading complex of buildings and spaces – a series of teaching and living spaces, terraces and informal streets that encourage interaction and a sense of wellbeing,” said Chris Bubb, architect partner at Foster + Partners. The campus is made primarily from locally fired brick as a nod to Shenzhen’s history of brick masonry buildings. Coarse stones hand-pressed against the bricks before the firing process give the bricks their rough texture, which were then baked at varying temperatures to create different colors to match the different tones of earth in the surrounding area. + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , by Neil Young

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Foster + Partners China Resources University opens in Shenzhen

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