3D-printed modular oasis stays naturally cool in Abu Dhabi

November 12, 2020 by  
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Italian firm Barberio Colella Architetti and architect Angelo Figliola have unveiled a futuristic vision for an urban oasis in Abu Dhabi that combines cutting-edge technology with low-tech systems to stay naturally cool in extreme climates. The conceptual project — dubbed Urban Dunes — uses locally sourced sand as the main building material, which would be 3D printed in stereotomic blocks of sandstone. In addition to providing passive cooling, the oasis would also pay homage to the region’s culture with intricate and elegant spaces that mimic the traditional architecture of Abu Dhabi. Designed to span 1,000 square meters, the Urban Dunes project features the tagline “rethinking local sustainable models.” The proposal “started from the deep awareness of the climatic context of Abu Dhabi’s and the Emirates’ traditional architecture, such as elegant vaulted spaces, vernacular shading devices and cold-water basins,” the architects explained in a press statement. As a result, Urban Dunes’ sculptural, sand dune-like form is integrated with iconic elements such as mashrabiya , vaulted spaces, water basins, fountains and palms. Related: Mixed-use complex aims to minimize heat gain with greenery in Saudi Arabia For adaptability, the architects have proposed a modular design to fit a variety of spatial settings. The basic module, a square, can be extended to create everything from an L-shaped layout to a courtyard. Each module would be made from 3D-printed blocks that stack together to create a vault with a thickness of 55 centimeters that, together with the heat-reflective cool pigments mixed into the sand, help protect against solar heat gain. The vaulted spaces below are also optimized for natural cooling with elegant mashrabiya, a type of perforated window screen to enable natural ventilation . The incoming airflow is cooled by the water basins placed around the interior as well as the two waterfall fountains and palm trees in the center. Earth pipes are laid underground to feed water to the fountains and basins. + Barberio Colella Architetti Images via Barberio Colella Architetti

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3D-printed modular oasis stays naturally cool in Abu Dhabi

Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

July 21, 2020 by  
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American architect Alec Petros has completed the Seaside Reef House, a timber-clad home that celebrates indoor/outdoor living at Solana Beach, California. Designed for Australian clients, the beach house takes cues from the Australian vernacular with its breezy, coastal appearance. Sustainability was also emphasized in the design, which features FSC-certified cedar and passive cooling strategies . Petros gained the commission after a serendipitous meeting with the client at a local bookstore, where the two coincidentally picked up the same architecture book and struck up a conversation that revealed a shared design aesthetic. The challenge with the project was not only the site’s odd shape but also the client’s desires for maximized ocean views and an open floor plan while preserving a sense of privacy in the densely populated coastal area. Related: A Brisbane cottage is sustainably updated to gracefully age in place As a result, Petros strategically placed a floor-to-ceiling door system and large windows to capture ocean views and cooling cross-breezes along the western and southern facades instead of wrapping the entire building in glass. To further emphasize the indoor/outdoor connection, Petros included deep roof eaves that measure 7 feet in length and a natural materials palette. The open-plan layout and interior pocket door systems help maintain sight lines and ensure flexibility for long-term use. “Another strong detail in the thought process behind the design related to sustainability,” Petros explained in a design statement. “The siding is composed of vertical FSC-certified cedar boards attached to a horizontal sleeper system, which created an air gap between the siding and the water-proofing. This allows sunlight to heat the boards without transferring a majority of that heat into the building itself. The beauty of this design is that it reduces the energy usage on the house where cooling is considered.” The wood siding was also selected for its ability to age gracefully in the humid, coastal region. + Alec Petros Studio Images via Alec Petros Studio

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Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

Breezy brick home in India houses multiple generations under one roof

March 4, 2019 by  
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New Delhi architectural practice Vir.Mueller Architects recently completed the Singh Residence, an experimental house built primarily from brick. Located in Noida just outside New Delhi , the home serves as a prototype for stylish and comfortable multigenerational living that’s not only sensitive to Indian culture and aesthetics, but also makes use of energy-efficient passive cooling. The home was created as a model for adaptable and replicable residential development across India. Spanning an area of over 10,000 square feet, the Singh Residence houses two brothers, their families and their parents. Per the client’s request that the project be built with local craftsmanship, the architects steered clear of commercial contractors and hired a team of 20 daily wage laborers. As a result, the multigenerational home’s construction had to follow a very simple design methodology that could be understood by the unskilled workers, without compromising the home’s appearance. Although the residence uses a simple and limited materials palette — all materials are sourced locally — the house looks highly textural thanks to the exposed brick pattern that allows natural light and ventilation to pass through. In addition to concrete and red brick, the home features teak timber sourced from the Madhya Pradesh forests and local white dungaree marble that lines the central axis of the home leading to the main staircase. Large timber-framed windows bring in ventilation and views, as does the interior courtyard at the heart of the home. Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade “The interior floors are a mosaic of the Indian Dungri white marble , a cool and bright counterpart to the rich earthen hue of the bricks,” the architects say in a project statement. “The exterior of the house – a simple play on weaving the bricks as a kinetic element – offers a tough skin to the heat and dust of the site. The house is presented in as logic – embodying a truth of the context, it’s material culture; and as canvas, recording the light and circumstance of the setting.” + Vir.Mueller Architects Via Wallpaper Images by Saurabh Suryan & Lokesh Dang

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Solar-powered home takes advantage of Silicon Valleys mild climate

August 9, 2018 by  
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San Francisco-based architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson recently completed the Los Altos Residence, a modernist family home for a couple who strives to be environmentally conscious. Located in Los Altos in northern Silicon Valley , the home and adjacent guesthouse boasts an energy-efficient design that follows passive cooling principles and is equipped with renewable energy systems. The low-slung residence mimics the Northern California ranch-style home with a distinctly modernist slant marked with clean lines and a restrained material palette. The Los Altos Residence comprises two buildings: a main residence of 4,151 square feet and an additional 479-square-foot guesthouse. The existing landscape played a large part in the design of the site-specific home, which is organized around a mature Japanese maple tree. The windows and doors were strategically placed to frame views of the diverse landscaping surrounding the home and to take advantage of cooling cross breezes. “The home is detailed with a natural, crisp palette, reflecting the client’s fondness for simplicity and tranquility,” explains Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in its project statement. “A variety of woods, including Douglas fir , western red cedar, and gray elm, are used throughout and provide a sense of warmth directly contrasted by exposed structural steel, polished concrete floors, and a textured concrete fireplace. A locally sourced Claro walnut table, measuring 10-feet in length, creates a comfortable dining space, its live edge balancing the clean lines of the living room. Additional furnishings reinforce the client’s desire for a minimalist environment.” Related: This modern vacation home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Ontario In addition to passive cooling and use of the stack effect in the double-height living space, the energy-conscious Los Altos Residence is also equipped with photovoltaic and domestic hot-water rooftop panels to offset electricity consumption. Energy is further conserved with a highly insulated building envelope and large overhangs that block unwanted solar gain. Concrete radiant floors also provide added warmth in the winter season. + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Images by Nic Lehoux

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Solar-powered home takes advantage of Silicon Valleys mild climate

These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

July 9, 2018 by  
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In an effort to encourage ecotourism for the millions that visit the United Arab Emirates each year, the country has officially launched the Biodomes project, which will feature beautiful biodomes designed by Baharash Architecture . Located in the mountainous eastern region of the UAE, the biodomes will be self-sustaining, use 100 percent renewable energy and have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Ultimately, the UAE hopes that the biodomes will promote awareness of and interest in the variety of wildlife in the mountain region. Baharash Architecture’s biodomes will provide a controlled environment, similar to that of a greenhouse, that closely mimics the surrounding natural area. In this case, the biodomes will be located in the Al Hajar Mountains, a stunning region that is home to rare species of Arabian wildlife . The project seeks to raise awareness of mountain biodiversity, and its facilities will include a wildlife conservation center and an adventure-based wilderness retreat. Related: Solar-powered biodome sustains all four seasons at the same time, under one roof The self-sustaining structures are crafted from prefabricated components, which will help to reduce site disruption and allow for the biodomes’ quick assembly. Semi-subterranean typology will provide passive cooling benefits, and the biodomes will rely on 100 percent  renewable energy and use recycled wastewater for irrigation and waste management on site. Visitors to the biodomes can experience a restaurant that offers both organic local cuisine and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Additionally, according to Baharash Bagherian, the Director and Founder of Baharash Architecture, the biodomes’ “bioclimatic indoor environments will provide visitors with thermal comfort, restorative and therapeutic benefits.” Visitors can also participate in several nature-based ecotourism activities, including ziplining, horse riding, hiking, camel excursions, mountain biking, paragliding and much more. + Baharash Architecture Images courtesy of Baharash Architecture

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These beautiful desert biodomes will be 100% self-sustaining

Mode:lina upcycles construction materials into an industrial-chic eatery

July 9, 2018 by  
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This new eatery in Pozna? , Poland sports an unconventional interior that’s all about imaginative upcycling. Polish architectural interior design studio mode:lina outfitted the restaurant — called The Rusztowanie Grill and Bistro — with a suite of construction materials repurposed into decor, serving plates, lighting fixtures and more. Serving up comfort food like massive burgers and hearty soups, the eatery’s contemporary and industrial-chic design matches its Instagrammable food offerings. Located in ?azarz (St. Lazarus District), one of the oldest districts in Pozna?, Rusztowanie Grill and Bistro can be found in the basement of a historic townhouse that dates back more than 100 years. The space spans 538 square feet and was designed with products sourced from a building warehouse. The existing exposed brick walls were retained and, matched with the Edison bulbs, track lighting and exposed concrete ceiling, they give the space an industrial feel that’s emphasized in the decor. Timber sourced from the warehouse forms the bar front and booth seating. The timbers were deliberately misaligned to bring attention to their raw appearance. Galvanized metal pipes were reworked into sculptural lamps, table legs and wall partitions. Concrete lattice paving blocks were stacked in front of some of the exposed brick walls that are painted black. The burgers are even served on a shovel head repurposed as a plate. Related: Spiky sweets shop makes extraordinary use of the common traffic cone “[We] ensured that the interior design of a basement in an over 100-year old townhouse is consistent with the name and communication strategy of the restaurant,” explained mode:lina in a project statement. “All is done in line with the type of food available here – simple dishes served in an unusual way.” + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewin?ski

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Crimson Bluffs Home uses passive solar and cooling to weather the extreme Montana seasons

March 5, 2018 by  
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  The environmentally friendly Crimson Bluffs House in Montana offers stunning 360 views of the Missouri River and the surrounding mountain ranges. Conceived by Greenovision , the house stays naturally warm in the harsh winters and cool in the sweltering summers thanks to its passive solar and passive cooling design. The house combines heating approach of passive solar and radiant hydronic floor heating – a strategy Greenovision calls Sun Smart Radiant Heating. Other green strategies include passive cooling design, ample amounts of natural light , high insulation values, and advanced framing. This home was constructed using locally sourced and recycled materials which are durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance . Large façade openings offer amazing views of the surrounding landscape. Related: Couple builds tiny A-frame cabin in three weeks for only $700 The Sun Smart Radiant Heating captures the sun’s energy on sunny days and has two added benefits. The radiant system distributes the sun’s heat uniformly throughout the home and also produces heat during long stretches of cloudy days or extreme cold. This dual heating method is not only incredibly energy efficient , it relieves any worries homeowners may have about living in a home that is heated with passive solar alone. + Greenovision

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New rooftop cooling tech beams excess heat into outer space

September 5, 2017 by  
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Heat rises, and, with a little help from scientists, can soar as high as outer space. A team at Stanford University has created a roof-mounted system which cools buildings, without the need for electricity, by incorporating solar panel-like machines that beam heat into the cold expanse of space. This system, known as radiative sky cooling, is seen as an early step to developing a full strength system to cool buildings without the need for an external energy source. This could prove enormously beneficial in dealing with the impacts of climate change (a warmer planet) while reducing its causes (lowering emissions). Shanhui Fan, professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, and his team have been working on radiative sky cooling since 2013. Their recent research has demonstrated that the radiative sky cooling system is capable of lowering the temperature of flowing water to below that of the air around it. While Fan and his team have specifically harnessed radiative sky cooling for air conditioning purposes, this process is something that occurs naturally. “If you have something that is very cold – like space – and you can dissipate heat into it, then you can do cooling without any electricity or work. The heat just flows,” explained Fan. “For this reason, the amount of heat flow off the Earth that goes to the universe is enormous.” Related: Massive new data center to be built in chilly Norway to offset energy use The primary obstacle to achieving a net-temperature decrease through radiative sky cooling is the heat received from the sunlight. To solve this problem, the radiative sky cooling system at Stanford incorporates panels that are coated with a multilayer optical film, which has the ability to reflect up to 97 percent of the incoming sunlight . Using data gathered from small-scale testing, the Stanford team projected that a full-scale radiative sky cooling system would result in an 18 to 50 percent reduction in the amount of energy needed to cool a building. To further develop the concept, the team has started a company called SkyCool Systems and plans to incorporate their system into refrigeration and air conditioning models, with a particular focus on cooling massive data centers . Via New Atlas Images via  Norbert von der Groeben and Aaswath Raman

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New rooftop cooling tech beams excess heat into outer space

China plans to build nearly 300 new eco-cities

September 5, 2017 by  
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China broke ground on a 40,000-tree-filled Forest City earlier this summer – but apparently one isn’t enough. The country, infamous for their environmental pollution , plans to construct 285 eco-cities , according to Forbes. But what exactly an eco-city constitutes – and the standards to which it will be held – is still in question. Individual buildings can be held up against LEED standards, or even China’s Three Star system. But Forbes pointed out there’s no such criteria for entire cities . The publication quoted Austin Williams, Jiaotong-Liverpool University professor and author of a book on eco-cities, who said, “There is no definition of an eco-city, which makes them incredibly easy to invent.” Related: China plans its first “Forest City” to fight air pollution The country has urbanized more rapidly than any other country in history. In the last 30 years, more people than America’s entire population have moved to urban areas of China. The country has prioritized development over the environment in many cases, with dangerous air quality found in 90 percent of cities. According to Forbes, as the public has become educated about the pollution, environmental conditions in the country could pose the largest destabilizing force to the Communist Party. Will China’s eco-cities recycle , be powered by renewable energy , produce less carbon emissions , and be built with energy-efficient structures – a few hallmarks we might expect in an eco-city? Williams said, “In the West, eco-cities are supposed to save the world; in China they are simply meant to provide a decent quality of urban environment…China’s eco-cities are simply intended to be much-needed urban improvements and infrastructural development with an eco-prefix.” 80 percent of prefectural-level cities are estimated to have at least one eco-city in the works. One estimate suggests in the near future, more than 50 percent of new urban developments in China will be labeled green, smart, low-carbon, or eco. It remains to be seen whether these eco-cities will genuinely benefit China’s environment – and the people who live in them. Via Forbes Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Zipline drones deliver life-saving medical supplies in under an hour

September 5, 2017 by  
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83% of rural Africans lack access to critical healthcare services – and delivering emergency supplies is often difficult or impossible due to ailing infrastructure. Zipline is changing that with the world’s first commercial medical delivery drones . A single drone can deliver up to 500 life-saving packages of medical supplies to remote areas in 24 hours. The project, which was just awarded a 2017 INDEX: Award , is a collaboration between Zipline and the Rwandan Government. The service is designed to deliver medical products to any area of Rwanda within 15-35 minutes – no matter how remote. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world in 2017 To activate the system, health workers only need to text an order, which goes to a centralized distribution center. Once the order is put in motion, a drone is dispatched to the area, dropping the ordered items by parachute with a high degree of precision. According to the startup’s website, a single Zipline drone can carry up to 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) for up to 150 kilometers (93 miles), making up to 500 deliveries in one day – even in extreme weather conditions. In early 2017 Zipline began delivering blood to over 20 blood transfusion facilities in western Rwanda, and the project is set to begin service in Tanzania with 120 drones and more than 1,000 clinics. + Fly Zipline + INDEX: AWARD 2017

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