Prefab Floating Music Hub to set sail in Cape Verde

July 31, 2020 by  
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International design practice NLÉ has unveiled its designs for the MFS IV, a prefabricated Floating Music Hub for the port city of Mindelo in Cape Verde. Developed as the fourth prototype of the firm’s Makoko Floating System, the project is the first in the series to be built in the Atlantic Ocean. The prefabricated floating hub , which is currently under construction, will consist of a cluster of three buildings of varying sizes that will house a large multipurpose performance hall, a professional recording studio and a small service bar.  Created for ADS (Africa Development Solutions) Cabo Verde, the Floating Music Hub builds on NLÉ’s objective to shape architecture in developing cities and communities. NLÉ first debuted its Makoko Floating System in 2012 with the Makoko Floating School in Lagos; the project collapsed after being adversely affected by heavy rains in 2016. The design firm crafted a second iteration of the school, called MFS II , at the Venice Architectural Biennale 2016. Then, in 2018, NLÉ installed a third iteration, the MFS III, with an improved design in Bruges, Belgium. Related: Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdu’s Jincheng Lake NLÉ’s design revisions have led it to bring the Makoko Floating System back to Africa, this time in the beautiful Mindelo Bay in Cape Verde’s São Vicente. “It is designed and engineered to even higher performance specifications and quality for marine environments,” noted the architects, who have teamed up with an array of local and international partners, including the likes of JMP, CFA, SINA and AECOM, among others.  Like its predecessors, the MFS IV Floating Music Hub will be prefabricated out of timber for rapid assembly, mobility and flexibility. The floating community landmark will comprise a trio of triangular buildings — a multipurpose performance hall, a professional recording studio and a service bar — clustered around a triangular floating public plaza designed to promote music, dance, art and other creative industries. + NLÉ Images via NLÉ

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This colorful prefab school was created in only 13 months

May 13, 2020 by  
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When  Crossboundaries  was tapped to design the Jinlong School, an educational campus with classrooms and dorms in Shenzhen’s newly established Pingshan district, the Beijing-based architecture firm was challenged by a limited budget and a scheduled opening date in only 13 months. To adhere to the tight deadline, the architects enlisted a local Shenzhen-based factory to prefabricate the majority of the school’s construction. Prefabrication not only allowed the architects to meet the brief’s budget and timeline, but also kept on-site construction waste to a minimum as well.  Completed in January 2020, the Jinlong School comprises 36 classrooms, dormitories, sports facilities, a canteen, office space, a theater, a library and other amenities on a compact 16,000-square-meter site. Following a five-month design period, construction took place from November 2018 to August 2010; approximately 75% of the project used prefabricated components. Created to help ease  Shenzhen’s  public school shortage, the campus is expected to enroll 1,620 students by 2025.  To show that prefab architecture doesn’t have to be boring, the architects created a dynamic facade punctuated with different colors and windows of varying sizes with protruding metal frames. Yellow accent colors were used to define areas of socialization, such as common areas in the dorms, while the color blue indicates circulation spaces such as hallways and stairwells. The dormitories and classrooms were primarily built from prefabricated components and the public spaces, such as the running track at the heart of the campus, were mainly constructed with conventional techniques. Related: MVRDV designs a sustainable “urban living room” for Shenzhen The campus design also responds to Shenzhen’s subtropical climate with the public areas mostly open to the outdoors to promote access to natural ventilation and daylight. “We were extremely intrigued to take on this project, to create a human, people-oriented school within all those limitations, and at the same time to still be as creative as possible, in designing a space that provides a solution for a realistic problem that we all have to face in quickly expanding cities in the future,” Hao Dong, Founding Partner of Crossboundaries, said. + Crossboundaries Images by Yang Chaoying

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This colorful prefab school was created in only 13 months

Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction

April 21, 2020 by  
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When Portland, Oregon reconfigured the roadways in the Central Eastside community, a 20,000-square-foot berm space was leftover from the move. To make the most of the small and oddly shaped site, Key Development teamed up with local architecture firm Skylab and Andersen Construction to use cross laminated timber (CLT) in the construction of Sideyard, a mixed-use development. The CLT components were prefabricated in a factory and then transported on-site for final assembly, a modular process that streamlined the building process and boasts environmental benefits. Located on a busy intersection next to the YARD apartments, the 23,202-square-foot Sideyard comprises a mix of retail and offices across five floors with retail located on the ground floor and workspaces placed on the top levels. Conceived as a “working class” building and gateway to the Portland Eastside community, Sideyard also emphasizes public transportation connectivity as well as pedestrian and bicycle accessibility, which has been enhanced with the addition of a ground-floor bike bar and pedestrian-friendly plaza extended from the city sidewalk. A pedestrian stair has also been integrated down from the Burnside Bridge level to Third Avenue. Related: First CLT Passive House project in Boston breaks ground The use of cross-laminated timber was critical to the project’s success. Because of the site’s tight footprint, construction materials could not be stored on-site for long; the modularity of the CLT panels and glulam members allowed for quick assembly of the building atop a post-tensioned concrete foundation. The interior features an industrial feel thanks to exposed concrete and timber throughout, while floor-to-ceiling glazing creates a constant connection with the surrounding neighborhood. “Cross-laminated timber is a new and sustainable building material that celebrates the inherent structural qualities of wood,” said Jill Asselineau, project director for Skylab Architecture. “This material was championed by the general contractor for its regional relevance, availability and simplicity of assemblage. Employing this mass timber system saved on both time and labor expenses. The project also used mass plywood for the interior stair structure, landings and treads. This project is one of the first to employ and elegantly demonstrate the potential of this wood product.” + Skylab Architecture Photography by Stephen Miller via Skylab Architecture

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Amsterdams new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy

November 27, 2019 by  
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The city of Amsterdam has officially opened the Depot Amsterdam Noord, a new repository for the capital’s Stadsarchief city archives. Designed by cepezed and cepezedinterieur, the new building offers nearly double the amount of space of the existing archive facilities. Even more impressive is its use of circular design principles and energy-neutral operations thanks to an airtight envelope, energy-efficient systems and solar panels. Realized by BAM Bouw en Techniek within a Design, Build & Maintain assignment, the Depot Amsterdam Noord does not receive visitors and is used solely for the reception, quarantine, intake, cleaning and processing of archival documents. The 2,665-square-meter facility houses all municipal archives from 1811, when Napoleon introduced the Civil Registry. All documents before 1811, as well as posters, prints, photos and film material, are located in the publicly accessible De Bazel building in the heart of Amsterdam .  Related: Cepezed completes the first self-sufficient bus station in the Netherlands Located in the northern part of the city, the building sports a “fierce and robust” appearance. “The building block is almost completely closed and from the outside, it does not reveal what it contains,” the architects said. “It has a dark, completely flush and anthracite-colored facade with a horizontal band of solar panels in the middle that is also dark gray. The detailing is minimalist. The sleek and basic character of the building makes for a firm landing of the storage place within its surroundings.” An enlarged version of Amsterdam’s iconic logo — the three red Andreas crosses — have also been added to the gray facade. To achieve a stable, climate-controlled interior, the architects designed the building with an airtight, highly insulating shell with minimal ventilation and an uninsulated concrete floor that acts as a passive heat and cold storage facility. All of the energy the building needs is generated by more than 1,600 square meters of solar panels on its facade and roof; any energy surplus is fed back to the electricity grid. A water management system also ensures responsible stormwater practices. The prefabricated components of the building are detachable, removable and reusable in keeping with the circular ambitions of the design team and Amsterdam. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Amsterdams new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy

These ultra-cool, vintage-style travel trailers can go off the grid for a week

November 27, 2019 by  
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Handcrafted in California by Bowlus Road Chief , these aluminum-clad travel trailers offer race car-inspired aerodynamics that provide the smoothest ride possible. Additionally, the incredible campers can even go off the grid for various periods of time before needing recharged. The beautiful, vintage-style campers are available in two models. The smallest of the two, the On The Road model starts at $137,000. It is 24′ long and can sleep up to four people. At 2,500 lbs, it can be easily hitched and towed, and this model takes up minimal space for parking. The camper features a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and a dining space that can seat two. Related: Hit the road in style this summer in this ship-inspired travel trailer The larger model, the Endless Highways , is 26′ long and weighs 3,200 lbs. Starting at $185,000, this model has a larger, more comfortable living space than its counterpart, and it offers some additional flexible design features. The spacious bedroom, for example, converts from two twin beds to a larger king-sized bed, adding extra space to accommodate all types of travel companions. There is also a kitchen and enough dining space for four people. In addition to their versatile sizes and features, the Bowlus campers also offer high-quality homes on wheels that cater to the adventurer in all of us. The campers are four-season capable with heated floors and tight insulation that keeps the interior temperatures constant year-round. For those rugged adventures, the incredible campers come equipped with powerful lithium iron phosphate power systems that allow these travel trailers to go off the grid for varying periods of time. The On The Road model can operate off the grid for a long weekend, while the Endless Highways model can go a full week without charging. + Bowlus Road Chief Via Tiny House Talk Images via Bowlus Road Chief

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These ultra-cool, vintage-style travel trailers can go off the grid for a week

BIG unveils a sustainable floating city in response to rising sea levels

April 9, 2019 by  
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BIG and a coalition of partners have unveiled Oceanix City, a visionary proposal for the world’s first resilient and sustainable floating community for 10,000 people. Presented at the first UN high-level roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities, the conceptual design was created as a potential solution to the perceived threat of climate change and rising sea levels. Conceived as a “modular maritime metropolis,” Oceanix City is engineered for self-sufficiency with features from net-zero energy and zero-waste systems to a sharing culture. According to UN-Habitat, 90 percent of the world’s largest cities will be exposed to rising seas by 2050. As part of UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, BIG teamed up with MIT Center for Ocean Engineering, Mobility in Chain, Sherwood Design Engineers, Center for Zero Waste Design and other partners to propose Oceanix City. This is a 75-hectare floating city  that is meant to grow and adapt organically over time — from neighborhoods to cities — with the possibility of scaling indefinitely. To that end, Oceanix City uses a modular design with two-hectare modules serving mixed-use communities of up to 300 residents centered on communal farming. Larger 12-hectare villages comprise six neighborhood modules clustered around a protected central harbor accommodating social, recreational and commercial functions for up to 1,650 residents. For a city of 10,000 residents, six villages are connected around a larger protected harbor. Construction materials will be locally sourced whenever possible, and components would be prefabricated on shore and then towed to their final site to keep construction costs low and thus permit affordable housing. Related: How the world’s first floating city could restore the environment “The sea is our fate — it may also be our future,” Bjarke Ingels said. “The first sustainable and self-sustained floating community, Oceanix City, is designed as a human made ecosystem channeling circular flows of energy, water, food and waste. Oceanix City is a blueprint for a modular maritime metropolis anchored in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The additive architecture can grow, transform and adapt organically over time, evolving from a neighborhood of 300 residents to a city of 10,000 — with the possibility of scaling indefinitely to provide thriving nautical communities for people who care about each other and our planet.” + BIG Images via BIG

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A prefab home in Sydney celebrates indoor-outdoor living

February 8, 2019 by  
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Constructed in a Melbourne factory in just 12 weeks, this elegant, prefab home in Sydney offers indoor-outdoor living without compromising thermal comfort. First designed by Sydney-based architectural practice Fox Johnston, the home’s concept was later refined by Australian design/build firm Modscape while honoring the architect’s design intent and the client’s demands. The prefabricated, two-story family home taps into solar design principles to prevent solar heat gain and to ensure comfortable indoor temperatures year-round. Spanning an area of 340 square meters, the modern, prefabricated home was commissioned by clients who needed extra space for their growing family and wanted to take better advantage of the property’s proximity to the beach in Tamarama, NSW. Taking cues from the original dwelling, the architects designed the new home with a similar footprint but added large expanses of glass to strengthen the building’s connections with the front and rear gardens . The existing sandstone plinth has also been integrated into the house to anchor it to the landscape. The material palette echoes the environment with its abundance of timber, which can be seen from the movable timber battened screens on the exterior to the light wood surfaces woven throughout the interior. “As soon as you walk in the front door, you’re welcomed by a generous double-height foyer featuring a staircase that reflects the timber battens used externally,” Modscape explained in a project statement. “In the living room, timber extends up the wall and across the ceiling to help to subtly define the space and beautifully complement the oak flooring. Opting for quality materials that will withstand heavy use from the children rather than ‘showy’ finishes ensure the result is a design that is durable and humble yet elegant and timeless.” Related: A modular extension boasts a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience The living spaces are located on the ground floor while the upstairs sleeping quarters consist of five bedrooms and two bathrooms. To mitigate Sydney’s harsh summers, the home is punctuated with numerous windows and skylights that maximize light and cross ventilation. The home was prefabricated at Modscape’s Melbourne factory in 12 weeks and then transported in 10 modules to the site, where the home was completed after an additional six weeks’ time. + Modscape Images by John Madden via Modscape

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Solar-powered floating hotel room is designed to pop up anywhere on water

January 17, 2019 by  
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Valencia-based architecture firm Mano De Santo has proposed a plug-and-play hotel room that could be easily transported and installed thanks to its modular, off-grid design. Dubbed the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge, the conceptual floating pavilion is a sustainable tourism initiative that targets low environmental impact. Powered with solar energy , the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge would offer a private and luxurious experience on the water for two. Unveiled last year, the Punta de Mar Marina Lodge is envisioned to house two levels spanning a total of 74 square meters in size. The ground floor — approximately 40 square meters — includes a small front terrace that opens to the bedroom, which overlooks views of the water through full-height glazing. The bathroom, technical equipment and storage are tucked in a unit behind the bed, while a small outdoor terrace is located in the rear. Guests can also enjoy access to the roof, where an open-air lounge with seating is located. “Punta de Mar is a sustainable tourism initiative, since it does not generate waste because it is an installation of modules whose system is the ‘Plug & Go,’” the architects said in a project statement. The team also explained that the unit is integrated into its environment with low impact. The hotel can be easily relocated — it can be transported by land or sea — and can be enjoyed in an array of different settings for “unique and exclusive experiences.” Related: This modular outdoor swimming pool from Finland could make a splash near you In addition to the off-site prefabrication of the unit that minimizes waste, the Punta de Mar Marine Lodge was designed to follow passive solar principles to reduce energy usage. Moreover, the indoor temperature, lighting, alarm system and entertainment system can all be controlled remotely via the guests’ smartphones. + Mano De Santo Via ArchDaily Photography by Sergio Belinchon via Mano De Santo

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Solar-powered floating hotel room is designed to pop up anywhere on water

Prefab timber complex shows off net-zero energy technologies in Beijing

January 16, 2019 by  
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Beijing-based architecture firm SUP Atelier has completed the Xuhui Demonstrative Project, a solar-powered community complex that serves as a demonstration project for net-zero energy technologies in Beijing. Built to follow BREEAM and LEED standards, the complex boasts an array of sustainable features ranging from low-waste prefabrication to green roofs. Real-time monitoring and smart automation optimize energy savings and comfort levels. Commissioned by Xuhui Group’s Beijing office for the Xuhui No. 26 Block in Shunyi District of Beijing , the Xuhui Demonstrative Project serves as a small-scale sharing space with rooms that can be digitally booked by residents. The project consists of three main buildings — a fitness center, a meeting room and a book cafe that doubles as an exhibition space — organized around a central sunken permeable courtyard that retains and purifies rainwater. Accessed via wooden boardwalks, each unit is prefabricated from timber; the modular design allows for flexibility and reduced construction waste. “As an experimental platform for prefabricated buildings with zero energy consumption, the project has established an integrated mechanism of the ‘design-construction-test-feedback’ process,” SUP Atelier explained in a statement. “With the help of information technology, the analysis of sustainable indicators can bring forth implementation methods, which can fit in newly built and renovated buildings in cold areas or serve as prototypes in both public and housing projects.” Related: MAD Architects to transform an ancient Chinese courtyard into a kindergarten with a “floating roof” To protect against Beijing’s cold winters, the buildings are wrapped in a high-performance, double-layered timber envelope as well as composite facades with photovoltaic double-glazed glass. Raised roofs with air-ducting devices help mitigate the summer heat and promote natural ventilation. Renewable energy is drawn from film glass, photovoltaic panels and a hybrid heating system that taps into solar thermal energy and an air-source heat pump. + SUP Atelier Via ArchDaily Photography by Su Chen and Chun Fang via SUP Atelier

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Prefab timber complex shows off net-zero energy technologies in Beijing

Tham & Videgrd Arkitekter designs Swedish vertical village built from CLT

January 3, 2019 by  
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Stockholm-based architecture practice Tham & Videgård Arkitekter has unveiled designs for a new housing typology in Gothenburg, Sweden, that will be built from cross-laminated timber. Named the “vertical village,” the project is a “solid timber” iteration of the firm’s previous development by the same name that had been designed for Stockholm in 2009. Like its predecessor, the Gothenburg “vertical village” champions a dense and family-centric development built around a series of connected garden spaces. Proposed as part of a larger site along Landvetter Lake, the Gothenburg “vertical village” was created as an alternative to the row house typology. Each dwelling will be set on a rounded plot surrounded by tall evergreen hedges to create a secluded and private garden for each homeowner. The vertical green massing will also help shape the network of winding pathways that connect the homes to the wider community. All the houses in the development will look identical with a tapered shape that rises to three stories in height. “The houses represent a new vertical typology that minimizes the footprint in order to leave as much land as possible for cultivation,” the architects said of the housing typology. For visual variety, the 140-square-meter row homes will be finished in different colors ranging from red, green, black and gray. The buildings will be constructed with cross-laminated timber and prefabrication construction methods to meet the highest environmental and energy standards. Related: Row house in Vietnam is wrapped in vertical gardens and a lace-like skin The homes will offer a range of one to four bedrooms. The ground floor houses the main social spaces that—thanks to the privacy afforded by the tall hedges—open up to a private garden through full-height glazing. The second floor contains the bedrooms overlooking views of the neighborhood and landscape. The topmost floor consists of a studio with a large skylight . + Tham & Videgård Arkitekter Via ArchDaily

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