Travertine and teak sustainably ground a modern home into a harsh coastal climate

October 3, 2019 by  
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Built to look like an extension of the landscape, the Point Nepean Residence in the town of Portsea, Australia is a sustainably crafted home designed to withstand extreme coastal weather. Melbourne-based design practice B.E Architecture created the home for a retired couple who wanted a beachside abode that would highlight the site’s natural beauty. In addition to a natural material palette that complements the coastal aesthetic, the home also uses site-specific, passive solar design principles to reduce energy demands. Set amongst thick tea tree parklands, the Point Nepean Residence enjoys sweeping views of Portsea Pier and Port Phillip Bay. In a nod to the rocky breakwater located below the site, the home features a facade made of imported Travertine from Eco Outdoor, a stone material selected for its weathered texture and ability to withstand the harsh coastal climate. Sustainably sourced plantation teak wraps the lower portion of the building and is also used for the mechanically operated screens on the upstairs windows. “The house is set back from the road with only glimpses of the building details being evident from the entranceway,” explain the architects in a press release. “It is only on approaching that slowly the house reveals itself, and one becomes more aware of the materiality of the elements used. Once inside the tall front gate, occupants and visitors are guided down a long walkway next to an atrium style internal courtyard that opens out into the main living area with views over the pier and ocean beyond.” Related: Locally sourced materials make up a timber home that mimics its forest landscape The thick travertine walls provide beneficial thermal mass for regulating internal temperatures, which is further stabilized with insulation in the walls and roof. Natural sea breezes are also maximized throughout to ventilate the building, while daylight streams in from multiple openings. The simple palette of timber and stone create a minimalist and modern appearance that’s also low maintenance.  + B.E Architecture Images by Derek Swalwell

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Travertine and teak sustainably ground a modern home into a harsh coastal climate

Eco-sensitive community in northern India harvests rainwater

September 4, 2019 by  
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Near the Himalayas, a new eco-conscious residential development known as the Woodside has taken root in the mountains of Kasauli, a small town in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Indian architectural firm Morphogenesis used a site-sensitive approach to design the luxury development, which not only follows the contours of the landscape to minimize site disturbance but also makes use of passive solar conditions and rainwater harvesting systems to reduce energy and water usage. Envisioned as a nature retreat for city dwellers, the Woodside is perched on extremely steep terrain that includes level differences of approximately 100 meters within the site boundaries. The development’s 37 cottages and the internal roads were strategically placed to minimize cut and fill operations as well as to preserve the existing vegetation and body of water on site. Locally sourced natural materials, such as stone, timber and slate, were primarily used for construction. Related: Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape “The cottages are positioned on the slope in a manner that ensures unobstructed panoramic views of the scenic hills of the Shimla valley; the largest ones enjoy the farthest view,” the architects explained. The lush landscape is left mostly untouched save for agricultural uses. “This is achieved by maintaining a minimum height difference between the roof level of each cottage and the ground level of the preceding cottage uphill.” To minimize energy usage, the cottages, which come in four different types, all feature thick outer walls to provide a thermal mass to reduce reliance on air conditioning. The community’s rainwater harvesting systems also help reduce water use. The collected water is used for irrigation or is stored in a sump downhill for later use. + Morphogenesis Photography by Suryan & Dang via Morphogenesis

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Eco-sensitive community in northern India harvests rainwater

Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape

August 19, 2019 by  
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In the Indonesian city of Tangerang, Jakarta-based design studio RAW Architecture has completed the School of Alfa Omega, a new school that emphasizes a connection with the outdoors. Set on a former rice paddy, the project has been a challenging endeavor — not only was the first phase expected to be ready for occupancy just six months from the design commission, but the muddy site conditions and the tight budget of less than $1.2 million also posed concerns. By combining low-cost materials and design inspiration from the local vernacular with easy-to-follow modular designs, the architects were able to successfully complete the first phase in just four months and within budget. The School of Alfa Omega caters to 300 students ranging from preschool to high school and is divided into three levels of preschool, six levels of elementary school, three levels of junior high school and three levels of senior high school. For ease of construction, the architects designed modular classrooms of equal size that are arranged in clusters. Related: Cooling breezes blow straight through a low-energy brick house in Indonesia “The brief of the project was to design a school with a value where ‘every child is [considered] a genius’; to be functioned in a curriculum system that does not rely solely on academic scores,” the architects explained. “The school aims to explore all of the students’ potency — even of those laid outside the ‘formal education realms’ such as craftsmanship, applied art, ecological awareness, social sensibility, etc., hence it is also required the establishment of growing talent classes.” To mitigate the swampy conditions and risk of flooding, the architects elevated the steel-framed school on stilts. In addition to the use of steel and concrete for durability and strength, the architects turned to locally sourced materials to bring down costs and relate the building to its surroundings. Wavy walls of locally sourced red brick — found to be more sturdy than the linear form — add visual interest. A thatched roof of local bamboo with long overhangs help shade outdoor spaces. Tall ceilings, porous brick walls, balconies and large openings were also integrated into the design to promote natural ventilation and optimize natural lighting in the school. According to the architects, the materials and design help the building remain at a stable interior temperature of 27 degrees Celsius year-round. + RAW Architecture Photography by Eric Dinardi via RAW Architecture

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Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape

Energy-efficient home uses recycled heat to reduce C02 emissions

August 15, 2019 by  
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The Lane End House by PAD studio incorporates natural building material and sustainable solutions to increase energy-efficiency . The resulting design creates a passive home with a smaller environmental footprint and a focus on sustainability.  The exterior of the house contains balcony areas that act as solar shading for the property, complete with thoughtfully-placed openings to create a greater distribution of natural ventilation to rid the home of intense heat during the hot Summer months.  Landscape-wise, the clients wanted to incorporate a natural feel as often as possible, with large windows to connect the inhabitants with the outdoors and a functioning herb garden located on the first floor balcony. The placement of the grand windows creates natural sunlight to light the home during the day while incorporating more profound landscape views. Related: Contemporary barn-inspired home adheres to passive house principles According to the client, “we wanted a house that was big enough to comfortably accommodate the two of us and our lifestyle – and no bigger. For us that meant carefully considered, flexible, multipurpose spaces that created a sense of space whilst retaining a modest footprint .” High quality, insulated timber wood used to create the frame both reduces the need for artificial cooling and heating in the home, and provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional (and heavy carbon emission-inducing) building materials. Additionally, the timber is locally-produced from renewable sources and the brick used to make the fireplace is hand-made by local vendors. On the ground floor, concrete was inserted to make the structure even more air-tight and regulate interior temperatures even further.  The builders installed a MVHR system designed to recycle heat produced from the kitchen and bathroom and mix it with clean air circulated through the ventilation and naturally colder areas of the house. In addition to completing the standard methods such as SAP calculations and EPS ratings, the impressive home was also built to Passive House ideology. +PAD Studio Images via PAD Studio

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Energy-efficient home uses recycled heat to reduce C02 emissions

Sustainable RAUM Pavilion can be continually reused or recycled in Utrecht

August 7, 2019 by  
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Utrecht’s burgeoning cultural hotspot at Berlijnplein (Berlin Square) has recently gained the RAUM Pavilion, a new sustainable meeting space for makers and creatives. Designed by Amsterdam studio Overtreders W , the temporary structure serves as an events venue for exhibitions, lectures and workshops. Following circular economy principles, the movable pavilion can be easily disassembled and rebuilt elsewhere, or the materials can be reused, recycled or composted. The pavilion is constructed from three adjoining timber structures with insulated wooden floor panels set on wooden beams on a foundation of concrete slabs. For a lighter and more durable alternative to glass, the architects installed polycarbonate sheets on the roofs and floors to let natural light in during the day. The sheets are also interspersed by leftover pieces of acrylic glass for pops of color. The polycarbonate panels help trap heat for passive heating, while rooftop solar panels power the pavilion. As with the exterior, the interior is deliberately left in a raw state to leave all the of the construction visible to the eye. The ceiling is defined by exposed timber trusses and their diagonal supports, as well as potted plants with greenery that drape over each truss. For flexibility, the interior can be sectioned off to create differently sized rooms to accommodate various group sizes ranging from two to 80 people. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion Completed in the fall of 2018, the RAUM Pavilion will stay in its present location for at least three years, after which it may move to a new location. The space regularly hosts events and can be rented by locals and companies for private events. The pavilion is also home to the restaurant Venster, which serves food prepared from locally sourced produce. + Overtreders W Images by Overtreders W

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Sustainable RAUM Pavilion can be continually reused or recycled in Utrecht

Passive solar home makes the most of a difficult, triangular site in Sydney

July 17, 2019 by  
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When asked to renovate and expand a home on a challenging triangular lot in Sydney, local architectural practice studioplusthree decided to build upward to make the most of the awkward site. By elevating the home’s new addition into the canopy of a large existing fig tree, the architects maximized access to natural light and city views while taking advantage of the tree’s shade. Dubbed the Platform House after its “new living platform,” the updated house also boasts increased energy efficiency thanks to the use of passive solar strategies as well as the installation of solar hot water panels and a rainwater collection system. Completed over the span of 36 months on a tight budget, the Platform House has been enlarged to cover an area of 2,131 square feet with a 753-square-foot basement. The existing ground floor was retained but reconfigured to house four bedrooms, a sitting room and an outdoor courtyard, while most of the attention was given to the new elevated extension. In contrast to the all-white ground floor volume, the new “platform” is clad in blackened timber and cantilevers out to provide shelter to the courtyard below. Related: A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living “Responding to the triangular site, the diagonal cut of the first floor volume is manifested in elements throughout from window reveals to planter boxes and outdoor seating,” the architects explained in the press release. “Acting as both cladding and screen, the upstairs volume is wrapped in a charred cypress , all of which was undertaken by hand, on-site. The design aims to integrate functionality into the details to enrich family living — such as the northern edge of the elevated deck, expressed in a continuous element that incorporates planting, outdoor seating, privacy screen, benchtop and storage.” For added privacy, the new living platform is partially sheathed in a series of sliding perforated bronze screens that protect against solar heat gain yet still let in natural light when closed. Deep eaves and recessed blinds shelter glass openings, while the fig tree provides additional protection against the western sun. The open-plan living spaces also open up to a north-facing outdoor terrace. + studioplusthree Photography by Brett Boardman via studioplusthree

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Floating private resort in the Maldives is 100% powered by the sun

January 21, 2019 by  
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Basking in the beauty of the Maldives is a luxury that can now be enjoyed in an all-inclusive eco resort powered entirely by solar energy. Opened at the end of 2018, the Kudadoo Maldives Private Resort was designed by New York-based architectural firm Yuji Yamasaki Architecture (YAA) to create a luxury experience guided by eco-conscious principles. The crowning jewel of the resort is The Retreat, a two-story dining and leisure hub topped with a folded roof clad in solar photovoltaic panels. Set on a private island on an aquamarine lagoon, the Kudadoo Maldives Private Resort offers 15 spacious residences ranging from one to two bedrooms. Each residence is over 300 square meters in size and opens up to a 44-square-meter infinity plunge pool and unobstructed ocean views. Guests also enjoy access to a private butler, tasteful handmade furnishings and modern fixtures including a television and surround sound system. Sustainability drove the architects’ design decisions, which minimized environmental impact wherever possible. The resort is mainly built of eco-conscious materials, such as timber from sustainably certified forests in Canada, New Zealand and Indonesia. Energy usage is reduced thanks to energy-efficient cooling systems, fully automated lights and passive design features that promote cross ventilation. Related: How floating solar panels are helping the Maldives ditch diesel fuel “Traditionally, solar panels are hidden in discreet areas in the Maldives and it does not have any other function, but in Kudadoo, [the] photovoltaic roof is decidedly visible and becomes the icon of the place,” the resort said in a statement. “Solar concept should be as informative and persuasive as it is productive. At a glance, visitors can assess the size of solar roof, and then comprehend the relationship to the scale of the resort served by it. As you get closer, the design of the building reveals geometry that not only maximizes production of electricity by its angle, but also minimizes consumption of electricity by allowing sunlight to come through the gaps between panels, minimizing the use of artificial light during the day.” + Kudadoo Maldives Private Resort Via New Atlas Images via Kudadoo

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Floating private resort in the Maldives is 100% powered by the sun

A Victorian cottage gets a stylish and sustainable makeover

January 17, 2019 by  
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In one of its latest eco-conscious retrofits, Australian architecture firm Green Sheep Collective has given a single-fronted timber Victorian cottage a sustainable transformation in inner Melbourne. The renovation and expansion project combined recycled and eco-certified materials with low-tech, passive solar principles to reduce the carbon footprint of the home while improving livability. Filled with light and contemporary flourishes, the updated house — named Magnolia Soul — has also been designed to embrace the outdoors. Commissioned by a young family with pets, Magnolia Soul was designed with an emphasis on spacious indoor-outdoor living as well as healthy and eco-friendly materials. During the renovation, the architects preserved a mature magnolia tree — a stunning Magnolia x soulangeana — and turned it into a main focal point. In addition to the tree, the existing property conditions also informed the building’s siting, mass and volume, which were all optimized to follow passive solar principles. Moreover, the building footprint is minimized in favor of maximizing the garden area. “A unique folding roof form envelopes and cradles robust living spaces, whose lowered floor level is embraced by adjacent decking,” the architects explained, having created a flexible open-plan interior layout with strong sight lines to the outdoors. “Views of the magnolia tree are intentionally framed by the roof structure, through a high-angled window and bay window seat. The generous and versatile window seat creates a lovely place to relax, read a book, admire the flowering magnolia or sit on the edge of the garden. High angular ceilings offer views of the magnolia, allow dappled light to penetrate deep into the residence and provide stack effect ventilation.” Related: Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia The home is oriented for optimal thermal comfort : north-facing windows draw in natural heat for winter, while deep eaves and strategically placed windows for cross ventilation combat unwanted summer heat gain. Low-E double glazing and effective insulation also accommodate a temperate climate. Recycled, low-emission and ethnically procured materials were used wherever possible. For added resource savings, the home is equipped with a rainwater tank that reuses roof runoff for the laundry and toilets. + Green Sheep Collective Photography by Emma Cross via Green Sheep Collective

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A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode

November 9, 2018 by  
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Formerly cold, dim and damp, a terrace house in Northcote, Victoria has been reborn into a vibrant and welcoming dwelling with an emphasis on gardening. Designed by Green Sheep Collective for a client named Jill, the compact project, named Jill’s House, saw a modest expansion of just 22 square meters of space yet gained its bright and spacious feel thanks to a thorough renovation. Created to meet the client’s aspirations for a “very healthy home,” Jill’s House embraces recycled materials, low VOC finishes and passive solar principles for a minimal energy footprint. Having developed deep ties with her local community, the homeowner wanted the renovated house to be suitable for long-term living and retirement. As a result, the redesign prioritized accessibility, low maintenance and durability. Tapping into its extensive experience in eco-friendly retrofits, Green Sheep Collective opened the home to greater amounts of natural light while improving energy efficiency with the reorientation of the living areas to the north and the installation of high-performance materials, such as improved insulation and low-e double glazing. The open-plan living area also enjoys a seamless connection with the outdoors to support the client’s hobby of gardening. “The comfort, energy efficiency and longevity of the house have been improved immeasurably,” the designers noted. “Despite an existing north wall along the boundary, sunlight is brought deep into the house via a raked ceiling paired with electric-operated clerestory windows that soar above the kitchen and dining areas, doubling to encourage the ‘stack effect’ for ventilation and distinguish the extension from the original Victorian home.” Related: Smart Home targets affordability and eco-friendly design in Australia Adding to the overall sense of vibrancy, bright pops of color woven throughout were inspired by the client’s favorite Derwent pencils from childhood. A natural materials palette  — including plantation timber flooring and recycled red bricks — lend additional warmth and complement the restored furnishings that include the dining table, dining chairs and lounge suite. + Green Sheep Collective Photography by Emma Cross via Green Sheep Collective

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A dark, damp house becomes a sustainable, sun-soaked abode

Delhi High Courts new expansion taps into green building principles

November 1, 2018 by  
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New Delhi-based architecture practice Design Forum International has completed the New Courts Complex, a modern extension to the Delhi High Court. The new project was completed as part of the Delhi High Court’s ambitious expansion plan to increase capacity by 60 percent by the year 2020. Designed with energy efficiency in mind, the building was informed by passive solar principles to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures, while smart water management is practiced using sensor-operated fixtures and recycled water systems. Located in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi, the New Courts Complex mimics its predecessor with grand steps that lead to a high podium fronted with a large fountain  focal point. The complex includes 15 courtrooms across four floors as well as nine registrars’ courts on the ground level. Moreover, there are 16 new chambers for judges, nine new chambers for junior registrars and additional work spaces for judicial officials. Discussion and sitting rooms for members of the bar, as well as a women-only sitting room, were also integrated into the plan. Since security was also a paramount concern, open sight lines and transparency were stressed throughout. “The task was to somehow create a visual vocabulary that could bridge 500 years of discordance with a harmonious note,” Design Forum International said. “The principles of green building design have been employed with a tilt toward passive techniques that require the basic design starting from the envelope and massing to be correct. In the overall analysis, the New Courts Block is a fine example of how to build a green building that is both energy-efficient , functional and aesthetic.” Related: Architects transform a derelict lot into an urban oasis in New Delhi The outer walls of the building are built from A.E.C. blocks chosen for their thermal properties, and the roof was built with heat reflective tiles. In addition, high-performance coated glass and solar panels help reduce dependence on air conditioning. As a result, the total energy demand has been reduced by approximately 20 to 25 percent. Natural light is optimized in the entire building, even in the basement, thanks to carefully placed skylights. + Design Forum International Images via Design Forum International

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