Biophilic dome homes produce more energy than they consume

October 15, 2018 by  
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It’s no secret that the building sector is a resource-intensive industry, but La Mesa, California-based nonprofit Green New World believes that the future of construction can and should be greener, healthier and energy-producing. Green New World created the House of PeacE (also known as Project HOPE), an autonomous and regenerative residential housing model that champions carbon-free living. Combining biophilic design with renewable energy systems and natural materials, Green New World’s first carbon-negative residential prototype — dubbed HOPEone — is slated for completion by 2019. Conceived as a decentralized, autonomous housing model, Project House of PeacE (HOPE) will integrate water, energy, waste and food production and be adaptable to different climate zones. Shaped into a cluster of domes, the HOPEone prototype will be built from locally sourced earth using low-impact and affordable Superadobe construction methods. The building technique can be easily taught to people and can produce well-insulated and ecologically sound buildings with demonstrated resistance to earthquakes, fires and storms. The geometry of the domes is engineered to optimize energy-efficient thermal regulation and follow passive heating and cooling principles. Related: Dome-shaped Earth Bag House keeps residents naturally cool in Colombia “Modules are selected based on a low-embodied energy and environmental footprint while being simple to recreate with basic skills and, as far as is possible, are constructed with locally available, low-cost and low-impact materials,” Green New World explained. “The first HOPE model, HOPEone, is nearing completion, where the productivity of the core bioenergy modules and carbon sequestration modules will be assessed for the development of future prototypes.” In addition to energy and water conservation measures, the prototype will also harvest and generate its own resources. Depending on the location and climate conditions, different water harvesting systems will be installed and sized to meet the consumption of the inhabitants. The harvested water will be treated with ozone and subject to a three-stage purification, mineralization and alkalization treatment system. Solar photovoltaic panels will also be added to the buildings as will an anaerobic bioreactor for creating biogas used for heating and cooking. + Green New World

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Biophilic dome homes produce more energy than they consume

Maya Bay closes following extensive environmental damage from tourists

October 11, 2018 by  
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The Thai beach that Leonardo DiCaprio made famous in his 2000 movie The Beach is closing indefinitely thanks to the damage caused by millions of tourists . Maya Bay, one of the most popular destinations in the world, is a small beach with silky sands and crystal blue water surrounded by cliffs on Ko Phi Phi Leh island. But over the years, it has sustained such massive environmental damage from pollution that authorities have closed it for at least a year. The movie may not have been a hit for DiCaprio, but the film’s location became so popular for tourists that up to 5,000 people and 200 boats visited each day. Thai authorities had originally announced they would close Maya Bay for four months. They have extended the plan to at least a year because of the extent of the destruction. Litter, boats and sunscreen have caused so much pollution, it has destroyed over 80 percent of the coral around the bay. Related: University of Queensland wants to drop “bommies” on the Great Barrier Reef “We have evaluated each month and found out that the ecological system was seriously destroyed from tourism of up to 5,000 people daily,” said Songtam Suksawang, the director of Thailand’s national parks department. “It’s very difficult to remedy and rehabilitate because its beach was completely destroyed as well as the plants which cover it.” He added that there had been evidence of damage to Maya Bay for years, but the government was reluctant to close it down because of the amount of annual revenue it generates — 400 million baht (about $12.3 million). Thailand’s department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation has said it will not lift the tourism restriction until the ecosystem “fully recovers to a normal situation.” According to The Guardian, this is a relief for local environmental activists who had argued that closing for just four months wasn’t enough. It will take years for the reef to be fully restored, because coral only grows about half a centimeter each year. Worapoj Lomlin, Maya Bay park chief, said the parks agency has already planted more than 1,000 corals to help rehabilitate the reefs, and the team will continue to expand the project. Via The Guardian Image via Joan and Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi

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Maya Bay closes following extensive environmental damage from tourists

Greek island Tilos is showing the world how to go 100% renewable

October 11, 2018 by  
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The Greek island of Tilos is nearing 100 percent energy independence using only renewable sources with the help of EU funding. The investment, which has helped the island establish the TILOS (Technology Innovation for the Local Scale, Optimum Integration of Battery Energy Storage) Project, will make the Greek landmass the first island in the Mediterranean to achieve energy independence using only renewable energy. The small island, more specifically located in the Aegean Sea, is home to merely 500 people. The population doubles during the summer months when the beautiful seascape is home to a flood of tourists from all around the globe. Despite renewable integration on such a small scale, however, the island is gaining international recognition for the adoption of a solar-and-wind-based energy system that has proven fault-free. Related: This massive Sun Ray could sustainably power 220 homes in Melbourne Originally, the island received its electricity through an underwater cable connected to the adjacent island of Kos. The neighbor’s diesel power plant proved unreliable because of tectonic activity that led to power outages for both islands. Aside from problem of being fossil fuel -dependent, the existing power grid’s blackouts were disrupting the island’s main income source — tourism. The hybrid system taking over the island’s energy needs includes an 800-kW wind turbine and a 160-kW solar photovoltaic system. Together with a 2.4 MWh capacity battery storage, islanders and their sight-seeing guests will benefit from a consistent energy supply that will operate regardless of weather conditions or time of day. Experts say the project is so efficient that the oil-powered island of Kos will soon be importing energy from its small neighbor instead of supplying it. According to project partners, TILOS “will set the foundations for the future development and replication of similar hybrid systems in island regions and remote communities facing energy-related problems.” Other countries with islands participating in the project are Germany (Pellworm), Portugal (La Graciosa) and France (Corsica). A flyer for the German-based TILOS extension explained, “The overall idea is to create a special platform that will enable technological know-how transfer between islands, by also exploiting the experience gained from the smart grid system of Pellworm, and that will designate new opportunities for the development of similar systems in other islands.” The island’s new system will start by supplying  renewable energy  at 70 percent of Tilos’ needs, and it will reach 100 percent in the near future — undoubtedly serving as a successful model for islands in the region and hopefully worldwide. + TILOS Via Treehugger and PhysOrg Images via Chris Cherf and Ulrich Scherf

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Greek island Tilos is showing the world how to go 100% renewable

Explore the worlds driest desert at these eco-friendly geodomes

September 27, 2018 by  
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On the coastal edge of northern Chile’s Atacama Desert sits the Piedras Bayas BeachCamp , sustainable lodgings that offer a low-impact stay in the world’s driest desert. Chilean architecture firm MOREAS designed the eco-friendly retreat using local materials, non-contaminant sanitary systems and off-grid energy systems. Billed as a “sustainable tourism station,” the beach camp is oriented toward the water and offers an immersive experience in the virgin landscape. Elevated on stilts, the Piedras Bayas BeachCamp consists of a centrally located service center and three freestanding hotel suites. Spaced 50 meters apart to preserve privacy, each suite houses up to four people and comprises a white geodome for the sleeping quarters, a private bathroom and a personal terrace oriented for views of the water. The service center is equipped with a communal kitchen with all the appliances and tools needed for food prep, two outdoor dining areas, an office, two bathrooms, a staff room and a living area. Exterior raised pathways connect the various buildings. To minimize impact on the landscape, the project was constructed in three phases with a team of three carpenters, two local artisans and an architect on site. “The strategy was to have a wood structure as the skeleton, with skin made out of local materials,” the architects explained in a project statement. “The structural basis was made from wooden pillars, buried one meter in the sand compacted with salt water, and the foundations did not use any cement at all. The main local materials used for this project were ‘Brea’ and ‘Totora.’ It is inspired by a small village located 40 minutes from the site.” Related: Desert dome camp in Jordan offers tourists “The Martian” experience Nightly rates at the Piedras Bayas BaseCamp start at $120 USD with a minimum two-night stay requirement. Guests will have access to kayaks as well as electricity and hot water 24/7. + MOREAS Via ArchDaily Images by Alejandro Gálvez, Cristina Ananias and Eduardo Montesinos

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Explore the worlds driest desert at these eco-friendly geodomes

A sustainable tiny cabin powers this holographic lighthouse of the future

September 21, 2018 by  
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Lighthouses are beloved around the world for their architectural beauty and historical significance. But in recent times, the number of operational lighthouses has sharply declined due to the advancement of electronic navigation technology. In a bid to raise awareness of these romantic maritime towers and promote preservation, French designer Nicolas Abdelkader of Paris-based Studio NAB has proposed Hololightkeeper, an experimental and sustainable project that combines traditional maritime design with futuristic holographic technology to create a glowing lighthouse-like projection out at sea. Abdelkader conceived the project with two main parts: a 3D holographic lighthouse projected onto highly transparent mesh and a compact, 30-square-meter cabin from where the hologram would be controlled. In a nod to traditional lighthouse operations, a “lighthouse keeper” would live in the tiny cabin and manage this 3D luminous lighthouse. This guardian can control the holographic diffusion of the 3D lighthouse, which would measure 25 meters in height, diffuse at a range of 50 meters and serve as a guiding beacon to boats at night. To minimize the architecture’s site impact, Abdelkader designed the building with a light metal framework clad in stainless steel panels and elevated on a series of reinforced concrete and steel piles anchored into hard rock in the seabed. Moreover, the tiny cabin would be built for energy self-sufficiency by drawing power from a wind turbine and solar panels, while drinking water would be provided through a desalination process of the seawater. Natural wood wool within the walls would serve as insulation, and a green roof would add an extra layer of protection. Related: Denmark’s 116-year-old lighthouse transformed into a giant kaleidoscope “The starting point of this project was to note that there still remains around the world more or less 1,500 lighthouses in activity and that consequently, the lighthouse and the job by lighthouse keeper, as we know them, are declining,” Abdelkader explained. “The Studio NAB thus thought about a solution to try to stem the phenomenon, to revive this ancestral job and to modernize the famous concrete monolith such as it is anchored in the collective imaginary, while preserving its aesthetic codes by means of holographic image in 3D.” + Studio NAB Images via Studio NAB

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A sustainable tiny cabin powers this holographic lighthouse of the future

A sustainable campus is built from 22 recycled shipping containers

September 20, 2018 by  
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The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute in Thailand is taking its own teachings to heart with the an eco-friendly campus crafted from 22 recycled shipping containers. Now, the institute has a clear example when teaching students about the importance of upcycling and sustainability, plus plenty of space for educating on tree conservation, urban farming, waste management and more. As an institution aimed at teaching others about sustainability, the ISDSI made every effort to minimize any impact throughout the building process. Starting with a bare lot full of trees , the final design saved all but two of the acacia wood grove by using a skilled crane operator to maneuver the shipping containers into place around the existing landscape. They also scrutinized the amount of concrete that was necessary and took steps to avoid greenhouse gas emissions. Related: 13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island The  shipping containers were hand-selected with the end design in mind, so when each showed up on site, it had a specific purpose. Once the containers were properly stacked, builders began to cut out portions of the massive metal boxes in order to create windows, doors, decks and connecting open-air walkways. To take the sustainable design one step further, none of the cut metal went to waste, as it was turned into interior walls, doors, sinks, bathroom stalls and a kiosk and welcome counter in the cafe and gym. The complex also includes classrooms, conference rooms, a kitchen and plenty of outdoor spaces. The entire project took about nine months to complete. In addition to reusing containers slotted for melt-down recycling on the front end of the project, careful thought went into long-term energy savings from daily operations. For example, the entire campus uses low-energy LED lighting for areas not already lit through copious natural lighting. Proper insulation keeps the campus temperate, but when air conditioning is necessary, each pod has its own unit for efficiency, and most of the units were recycled from old buildings. Outside areas also received a sustainability upgrade with the use of composting , an on-campus garden, plants and green spaces, all intended to help support the soil and provide fresh air. + The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute Images via ISDSI

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A sustainable campus is built from 22 recycled shipping containers

Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

September 14, 2018 by  
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The global, on-demand transportation service Gett is embarking on a new endeavor — implementing carbon-free and carbon-positive rides for all of its passengers. The company’s announcement features several initiatives to help accomplish this benchmark, and Gett’s success would make it the first major taxi app in the U.K. to attain a carbon-neutral status. With air quality continuously deteriorating to dangerous levels in several U.K. cities, the company is proud to become a first responder to the growing crisis. “Air quality is increasingly becoming more of an issue, not just in London, but across the U.K.,” Matteo de Renzi, CEO of Gett U.K., said. “By becoming carbon neutral, we’re incredibly proud to be helping cities achieve cleaner air and reduce pollution levels. By offsetting the CO2 our U.K. rides produce, we will positively impact multiple climate projects across the globe.” Related: Lyft is making all its rides carbon neutral In partnership with Carbon Clear, a global provider of energy and carbon sustainability solutions, Gett plans to ensure carbon neutrality by offsetting 7,500 tons of carbon dioxide — the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the company projects to release within the next 12 months — through various international programs. “The science tells us that carbon neutrality is necessary to protect the planet and sustain our livelihoods,” said Mark Chadwick, CEO of Carbon Clear. Together, the duo will be reducing pollution levels through a Wind Power Generation project in India that displaces the burning of fossil fuels. The team will also be supporting the Madre de Dios Project in Peru’s Amazon jungle to reduce deforestation. “The offsetting projects that Gett is supporting are subject to rigorous international standards to ensure they deliver the promised emissions reductions,” Chadwick said. “As well as this, these projects support sustainable development in international communities and have a tangible impact on people’s lives.” Related: Google Street View cars will map air pollution in cities worldwide Riders will also have the option to offer their own contribution of 20p ($0.26) to their Gett Green journeys if they wish, an action that will make each ride a carbon-positive experience on a long-term scale. The donations will be used to fund London schools that have been identified by the mayor’s school air quality audit program . This initiative is set on reducing emissions around London schools and mitigating youth exposure to heightened nitrogen dioxide levels. Gett will also continue to support electric and hybrid taxi conversions in cities such as Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The fully-certified electric taxis , made specifically to address growing pollution problems, are the first ever to be introduced on U.K.’s streets. Mindful to the core, Gett will not be adding extra vehicles to already-congested roads. Instead, the company wishes to continue its efforts in urban mobility improvement by reducing the amount of vehicles in circulation through its black car service gone green. + Gett + Carbon Clear Images via Gett

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Passenger service Gett launches carbon-free travel in the UK

DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores

September 14, 2018 by  
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Fall is a great time to bust out new decorations, but you don’t have to break the bank to make your house stand out. Making DIY fall decor is a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time. From floating shelves to fall clothing accessories, here are eight autumn decorations you can make from common thrift store items or materials in your craft drawer. Cake Stand Pumpkin Display Nothing says fall like fresh pumpkins . You can proudly display these seasonal staples ( before you cook them up for dinner ) using an old cake stand, or you can build your own from old plates and a candlestick holder. If you are building one, simply mount the candlestick holder between two plates and paint them as desired. Glue down the plates to hold everything securely in place. You can build as many of these as you like, using different sizes holders to vary the heights. Related: Fall decorating ideas Floating Bookshelves Floating bookshelves can add a cozy and mysterious feel to a room, and you can build these imaginative holders with a few old hardcovers and a metal bracket. With a floating bookshelf, the bottom book holds everything in place while concealing the support bracket. Once completed, the shelf makes it appear like the books are floating on their own. For this project, all you need are a few metal brackets and some hardcover books. Start by attaching the bottom of the hardcover book to a metal bracket with a piece of fabric fastener. The fabric fastener should be attached so that it holds the bottom cover in place. The rest of the hardcover book should rest on top of the bracket. Then screw the bracket in place and install the bottom book. You can stack multiple books on top of the first one, just make sure the weight isn’t more than the metal bracket can handle. Stagger as many of these floating bookshelves on your wall to complete the look, and top each with your favorite knick-knacks. Sweater Pumpkins Cable knit sweaters make great DIY pumpkins that won’t rot if you forget about them. You can make these adorable fall decorations with a cable knit sweater, stuffing, yarn, twine and a sewing needle. Start by cutting the sweater in half at the armpits. Then, use the needle and yarn to create a running stitch along the bottom of the fabric, pulling it tight as you work around. With the bottom closed, fill the fabric with your stuffing material, leaving around 5 inches of sweater on top. The stuffing should turn the sweater into a rounded shape. Close the sweater with another running stitch around the top and add a piece of twine for a stem. Lastly, run some twine in sections from the top of the sweater to the bottom to create ridges, pulling tight for a more pumpkin-like appearance. Related: Front porch decorating for fall Basket Storage We could all use some extra storage around the house. Instead of buying new plastic totes, you can convert an old basket to serve as decorative storage space for all the seasonal items taking over your house, like blankets, scarves and boots. All you have to do is take an old basket and repaint it a solid color to match your existing decor. You can also paint a pattern on the basket to really make it stand out. Attach thick rope to the top of the basket to serve as handles, making a basket full of scarves, coats or blankets easier to move from the living room to the laundry room. Fall Clothing There are plenty of things around the house or at your local thrift store that you can upcycle and wear in the cooler fall weather. If you have any sweaters that are beyond repair, you can cut off the sleeves and use them as leg warmers, knit socks or tall boot socks. You can even make several pairs using just one sweater, depending on the size. If you have a blanket that has seen better days, cutting it just right can turn it into your new favorite scarf. The key is to getting the right dimensions. If you have another scarf on hand, use it as a reference point. Traditional scarves are anywhere between 55 and 82 inches long and 5 to 10 inches wide. Depending on the condition and size of the blanket, you should be able to get multiple scarves out of one piece. Seasonal Throw Pillows Take your love for fall to the next level by making throw pillow covers with old sweaters or flannel shirts. Start by cutting off the sleeves of the sweater or flannel, carefully following the seams. Then, put the pillow inside the shirt to get an idea of the best placement. Try to center the pillows with the pockets or buttons, which will lend these covers extra charm. Trim around the pillow, leaving an inch of fabric all the way around. Flip the fabric inside out and sew all of the sides together. Avoid sewing shut the buttons, as this is where you will insert the pillow. Once everything is sewed together, turn the shirt the right side out, unbutton the front, insert the pillow and re-button the cover. If your top of choice doesn’t have buttons, sew in buttons or a zipper on one side of the pillow cover. Related: Refresh your furnishings for fall Mason Jar Pumpkins You can make super cute DIY fall decor using old glass jars. All you need are the glass jars, non-toxic paint , twine and some faux leaves and corks for the stems. Start by painting the lids brown and the jars a dark orange. Once they have dried, screw the lids on the jars and use a piece of twine to tie around the jar just below the base of the lids. Add faux leaves and corks to the top of the lids, and feel free to paint on some fun Jack O’Lantern faces as well. Patio Lights Turning old tin cans into patio lights is a lot easier than you might think. All you need are some snips or shears, a hole punch, paint and tea lights. Start by removing any labels from the cans and cleaning them thoroughly. Use a strong hole punch to create patterns on the cans and paint them a warm fall color. If you do not have a hole punch on hand, you can carefully use a hammer and nail to create the same effect. Simply insert the tea light into the cans and place them around your patio, porch or even indoors. Images via Kamelia Hayati ,  John M. P. Knox , Sarah Dorweiler , Max Conrad , Shutterstock

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DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores

Retro-inspired beach hut rotates to catch the sun’s rays all day long

September 14, 2018 by  
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London-based JaK Studio has just unveiled a retro beach hut that rotates to follow the position of the sun. Located on the popular Eastbourne Beach, The Spy Glass is an egg-like pavilion striped in bright colors with an all-glass facade on one side and two port hole windows on the other. Once inside, visitors can enjoy beautiful 180-degree views of the beach and the promenade without moving an inch, because the structure is set on a rotating turntable. The design concept was inspired by the classic, colorful beach huts that were once an iconic symbol of the British seaside as well as the common coin-operated binoculars found at many tourist sites. Currently located at Eastbourne’s beach and pier, JaK Studio’s Spy Glass design puts a fun, modern spin on the classic huts by incorporating movement. Related: SPARK designs solar-powered beach huts made from discarded ocean trash “We wanted to pay homage to the traditional beach hut whilst creating a modern concept for a design classic,” Jacob Low, founding partner of JaK Studio, explained. “A big inspiration to our project was the coin slot binoculars which allow one to gaze out to sea . As you can move these binoculars, users can also move our Spy Glass to interact with the sun or coastline. It will hopefully bring a bit of nostalgia to local residents and those visiting on days out.” The brightly-painted orange and blue wooden shingles on the front door of the precast concrete pavilion achieve a nautical feel. The front door opens up to a compact space with an upholstered bench that allows people to relax and enjoy the views through the large glazed wall. A loft rests above the front door, and visitors can climb up into this area and enjoy vistas from two port hole windows. There is also a shower and ample storage, both installed to provide the basic amenities of a private beach hut. Both the large window and the port hole windows allow visitors to effortlessly enjoy views of the beach, the pier or even the promenade. The views change as the hut rotates, which is made possible by a recessed turntable. Operated by a remote control, the structure can be turned 180 degrees to provide the best views at every moment of the day. The Spy Glass hut design was one of the winning entries of an international competition hosted by Eastbourne Borough Council, which sought designs for iconic beach huts with a modern-day twist. + JaK Studio Via Dezeen Photography by Francesco Russo  and Nick Kane via JaK Studio

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Retro-inspired beach hut rotates to catch the sun’s rays all day long

Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

September 14, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based architecture studio SuperLimão and architect Gabriela Coelho recently completed GSC, a massive multi-use collector’s gallery built from shipping containers and other metal materials. Located in a lush area of São Paulo, the spacious complex also contains an office, a gym, a small workshop, a kennel and additional gallery space for the client’s other prized items. The industrial character of the cargotecture project was softened with the addition of turf and potted plants, while passive solar techniques were employed to maximize energy efficiency. Covering an area of nearly 19,400 square feet, the GSC is a multilevel project that houses the garage on the ground floor and uses a series of reused shipping containers stacked on top to form the upper level. Rather than place all the containers side by side in a row, the architects strategically arranged the 10 containers to promote natural ventilation, lighting and sight lines between the different areas. The interstitial spaces between containers were converted into green space with seating and timber decking. The roofs of the containers were also landscaped with rows and rows of potted plants. “One characteristic that differentiates our project from the usual container projects that we are used to seeing is that this particular project is totally adapted to our climate while utilizing the maximum passive techniques of form to maximize energy efficiency and take advantage of reusable materials from the container itself,” the architects explained. “All of the spaces have windows on three different levels. They not only allow for ventilation , but they also perform at an optimal level on days without wind. The exterior walls are finished in a ceramic paint and work in conjunction with the roof covered in foliage to thermally regulate the internal environment thus reducing the use of air-conditioning equipment.” Air conditioning is only used during the hottest parts of summer. Related: 13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island The interiors of the containers were renovated to house a variety of rooms, yet the look of the original walls and doors was preserved to reference the building material’s history. Full-height glazing creates a sense of permeability that continues throughout the structure. Outside, rainwater is collected in a large cistern and reused. + SuperLimão Via ArchDaily Images by Maíra Acayaba

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