COBEs Red Cross Volunteer House is an urban living room in Copenhagen

December 31, 2018 by  
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Copenhagen-based architecture firm COBE has unveiled images of the Red Cross Volunteer House, a new building in Copenhagen that not only celebrates the efforts of Red Cross volunteers, but also the power of great public space. Completed November 2017 as an extension of the national headquarters of the Red Cross, the Red Cross Volunteer House is a triangular building with an 850-square-meter roof that doubles as a large staircase and new meeting place for 34,000 Red Cross volunteers. Open to the public, the terraced space has also been embraced by the city as a new “urban living room.” With a floor area of 750 square meters, the Red Cross Volunteer House was designed by COBE — which won the design bid in a 2013 competition — in close collaboration with the Red Cross and representatives of the volunteer organization. Set partially underground, the volunteer center consists of exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, conference facilities, training facilities, disaster management facilities and a cafe. The extension also houses the main entrance to both the volunteer center and the headquarters, which are further linked with a green park. Yellow bricks were also used on the extension’s triangular roof to visually tie the building to the headquarters’ yellow-brick facade. “With the Red Cross Volunteer House we wanted to create a place that provides optimal settings for the heroes of everyday life – the thousands of volunteers who make an extraordinary effort to help marginalized people,” said Dan Stubbergaard, architect and COBE founder. “The roof of the building is now the Red Cross’s face to the world and a unique meeting place that acts both as a terraced stand and as stairs while also offering an attractive and inviting space to the many thousands of volunteers and, equally, to passersby and the rest of the city. The building has become an urban space and expresses both generosity and modesty while inviting the outside world in.” Related: COBE transforms former grain silo into swanky apartments in Copenhagen Since the project was opened to the public in November 2017, the Red Cross has garnered increased attention and visits from volunteers and passersby. The extension was constructed with a grant of DKK 30.7 million from the private foundation A. P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formål. + COBE Photography by Rasmus Hjortshøj – COAST via COBE

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COBEs Red Cross Volunteer House is an urban living room in Copenhagen

6 positive advancements against climate change to lead us into 2019

December 31, 2018 by  
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Global carbon emissions may be on the rise and poised to reach an all-time high this year , but that doesn’t mean there isn’t positive climate news to talk about. If you are looking for some uplifting stories about the environment as we close out 2018 and head into the new year, here are six reasons to be hopeful in spite of  climate change . Plant-based meat The carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels is still the main greenhouse gas , but methane and nitrous oxide are more potent, and the levels are rising. Livestock farming is the main source of methane and nitrous oxide, and because the world loves meat and dairy, these gases are a huge factor in the battle against climate change. Simply put, if we don’t radically curb our meat consumption, we can’t beat global warming . Related: Look out meat industry — flexitarianism is on the rise People all over the world are switching to vegetarian, vegan  and flexitarian diets, and that is a step in the right direction. Bill Gates has invested in two plant-based burger companies that make food from plants that looks and tastes like meat. Major companies like Tyson, Danone and Nestle are also investing in plant-based products that have a tiny carbon footprint, so the market will continue to grow and offer a wide variety of plant-based foods. The renewable energy revolution Renewable energy is quickly becoming the new normal. Thanks to the cost of solar panels and wind turbines plummeting over the last decade, renewables are now cheaper than coal. There are already systems in place to shift from gas and oil to renewables. Companies all over the world are committing to renewable energy, and now more than half of the new capacity for generating electricity is renewable. Many parts of the world are already installing the cheapest electricity available. Last year, there was so much wind power in Germany that customers got free electricity . Even in the U.S., despite President Trump’s rollback of key climate legislation, there has been $30 billion invested in renewable energy sources. “We Are Still In” movement As a response to President Trump’s decision to back out of the Paris Agreement, thousands of America’s CEOs, college presidents and politicians have declared that the U.S. is “still in” the climate change fight with the We Are Still In movement. Over 2,600 leaders from across the country are standing together and committed to delivering the goals from the Paris Agreement. They also want to make sure that the U.S. continues to be a world leader in reducing emissions. More than 1,800 businesses and investors, 18 states and tribes and 335 of America’s colleges and universities are also part of the movement. More than half of the country’s Fortune 500 companies have the goal of cutting pollution . The death of coal Production of fossil fuels seems to have peaked in 2013, and since then, the demise has been shocking. Five years ago, the IEA anticipated a 40 percent growth in coal burning by 2040. But now, it only expects 1 percent growth. Bankruptcies are taking over the coal industry, and plans for many new coal plants are now dead and buried. China has halted plans for 151 coal plants, and in the U.K., coal has plummeted from 40 percent of the power supply to just 2 percent. This is all happening because solar and wind are now cheaper, but there is still more that can be done. When it becomes cheaper to build renewable energy sources compared to running existing coal plants, there will be zero reasons to keep digging coal out of the ground. Electric cars Oil is responsible for providing one-third of the world’s energy, so figuring out how to reduce this usage is a big challenge. One of the most promising options for reducing oil usage is battery-powered cars. They are starting to make a dent in the market, and China is leading the way by selling more electric cars every month than the U.S. and Europe combined. Just about every car manufacturer has  plans to go electric , and some will be doing it sooner rather than later. Both Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover have announced plans to end production of pure fossil-fueled cars by 2021, and Tesla has already rolled out its Model 3. If current growth rates continue, EV-volumes.com analyst Viktor Irle said  that 80 percent of new cars will be electric by 2030. Batteries A big piece of the renewable puzzle is batteries. The big issue is how to deliver solar power when it’s cloudy or how to provide wind power on a calm day. New battery technology is now making it possible to continuously store renewable power, even when the sun is behind the clouds and the wind stops blowing. With battery technology improving so fast, the price of battery storage is expected to drop in half by 2030. The price of lithium-ion batteries has already dropped by 75 percent over the last six years. The latest battery technology is also contributing to the rising demand for electric cars. Via Grist , The Guardian and WWF Images via Appolinary Kalashnikova , KMW737 , Andreas160578 , Jon Tyson , Benita Welter , Stefan Schweihofer and  Sabine van Erp

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6 positive advancements against climate change to lead us into 2019

The origami-like monocoque pavilion in London is shaped by its environment

July 25, 2018 by  
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A striking prefabricated  monocoque pavilion has popped up in London, bringing with it a social-enterprise cafe and multifunctional community space. Developed as part of the City of London Corporation’s transformation of the Aldgate gyrator into one of the largest public spaces in London’s Square Mile, the Portsoken Pavilion is a striking sculptural landmark that’s distinctive in its contemporary form yet sensitive to its heritage surroundings. Local architecture practice Make Architects designed the sculptural structure with a Corten canopy featuring large overhangs to provide solar shading and channel rainwater runoff. Spanning an area of nearly 3,500 square feet, the Portsoken Pavilion comprises a single light-filled level above ground as well as a basement area — reclaimed from former underground subway space — that houses plant, back-of-house facilities, kitchens and toilets. Local social enterprise Kahaila will run the pavilion’s cafe and multifunctional community space, which opens up to a new landscaped and pedestrian-friendly area. The origami-like roof is built from Corten cladding panels and folds down to touch the ground at three triangular support points; full-height glazing wraps around the exposed sides. Weathered steel was chosen as a nod to the brown brick of the Grade I-listed St. Botolph Without Aldgate church and the red brick Grade II-listed Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary school that sit on either side of the new square. “The final scheme is beautiful — distinctive, yet respectful of the heritage architecture surrounding it,” said project architect Sarah Shuttleworth. “It provides a bespoke civic amenity and the ambition and determination of the City of London Corporation to persist and deliver the square and the pavilion  — despite the challenges — in order to transform this parcel of London for the benefit of the local community, should be applauded.” Related: Make Architects unveil igloo-shaped cinema made from reclaimed cardboard in London The three glazed elevations of the parametrically designed pavilion face the three key pedestrian approaches to the square. The structure was prefabricated and weathered off site before it was reassembled and welded in situ. The underside of the steelwork was sprayed with 150 millimeters of insulation to minimize heat loss, while the constant temperature of the concrete tunnels that run below the structure help regulate the temperature in the cafe year-round. + Make Architects Images via Make Architects

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The origami-like monocoque pavilion in London is shaped by its environment

This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

March 28, 2018 by  
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With a sinuous, meandering form that blurs the line between interior and exterior, the new Media Library in Thionville, France , is a unique  public space . Dominique Coulon & Associates designed the building by combining irregular, typically independent systems, creating tension in the space and in how it is read. The building aims to promote a new kind of media library – one that allows members of the public to create and curate their own experiences. It offers a variety of activities and spaces that blend into each other, including music studios, a café and restaurant, and exhibition areas . Related: Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter The façade resembles an opaque ribbon that rises and falls to conceal or reveal the building’s interior. At the point closest to the street, the ribbon reaches ground level, then rises up again at points that sit further back on the plot. This construction not only plays with the idea of interior and exterior space, but also brings natural light all the way into the heart of the project, where it’s most needed. Taken as a whole, the project questions the physical and psychological limits of what constitutes public space and follows a design that eludes the Euclidean interpretation of built space. A garden ramp offers another connection to the outside, leading upwards to a summer bar that serves as a culmination of the architectural promenade . In addition, the presence of multiple routes offers constantly renewed viewpoints. The “bubbles” within the building contain specific parts of the library, such as a storytelling area, language laboratories, places for playing video games, and a plastic arts room. + Dominique Coulon & Associates Lead photo by  Eugeni Pons

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This sinuous, green-roofed Media Library in France looks like it floats in mid-air

First international Serpentine Pavilion will open in Beijing

February 1, 2018 by  
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The Serpentine Pavilion is going global, with its first international debut in Beijing , China. Launched by London’s Serpentine Galleries and Beijing’s WF CENTRAL, this major international collaboration will be designed by multidisciplinary Chinese practice JIAKUN Architects. The inaugural co-commission will be modeled on the Serpentine’s annual pavilion program in London’s Royal Park of Kensington Gardens. Every year since 2000, the Serpentine Galleries invites an international architect who has not completed a building in England at the time of the invitation to design a temporary pavilion on its grounds. The inaugural Serpentine Pavilion Beijing took a different approach to architect selection, and instead began with a competition brief seeking designs sensitive to Beijing’s historic and social context as well as the Serpentine Pavilion’s 17-year history. A selection committee that included representatives from the Serpentine Galleries, Hongkong Land, and Made in China, chose JIAKUN Architects’ design. The winning design draws inspiration from Confucianism and the Chinese philosophical term of junzi, used to describe the ideal man. According to the press release: “The design is characterized by the figure of the Archer, in the form of a curved cantilever beam that incorporates the forces of elasticity through cables stretched between steel plates. Although modern architecture in Beijing has developed a series of powerful techniques to fight the external forces of fierce winds and unpredictable earthquakes , the Pavilion’s integral structure aims—like the Tai Chi Master—to conquer the harshness of those forces with softness.” Related: Diébédo Francis Kéré’s rainwater-harvesting 2017 Serpentine Pavilion unveiled in London today The inaugural Serpentine Pavilion Beijing will launch in May 2018 at the opening of WF CENTRAL on Wangfujing in Beijing’s Dongcheng District, just 600 meters away from the historic Forbidden City. The temporary public pavilion will be on display for six months. + Serpentine Galleries Images via Serpentine Galleries

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First international Serpentine Pavilion will open in Beijing

Gorgeous street library in Bulgaria for 1,500 books uses parametric design

November 30, 2017 by  
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Nature inspired this stunning street library in Bulgaria , but it was computers that made the design possible. A team of young architects and designers created Rapana, the first street library in the city of Varna, using parametric design tools Rhinoceros and Grasshopper. The Rapana street library is built from 240 CNC-milled timber pieces fitted together into a curvaceous pavilion that provides shade, seating, and room for 1,500 books. The team of designers—Yuzdzhan Turgaev, Boyan Simeonov, Ibrim Asanov and Mariya Aleksieva—created the Rapana library in response to what they perceived as a diminishing interest in books in the digital age. Rapana was funded by the European Youth Capital , which had awarded the city of Varna with this year’s title. Varna’s seaside position and reputation as the “marine capital of Bulgaria” inspired the designers to craft the library into the shape of sea snail shell. “The design was inspired by nature and its organic shapes,” wrote the designers. “The installation takes into consideration the most important aspects of the city’s identity – the sea and its value to Varna’s citizens. The abstract construction unravels from a single focal point and develops into a semi-circle whilst creating a public space and shelves for placing books at the same time.” Related: Parametrically designed Louverwall house maximizes winter sunlight The team used 3D modeling to test over 20 concept designs before choosing a final design that fit the budget and conveyed the open library concept. The curvaceous library features two openings, seating, a tiny stage for performances, bookshelves, and a latticed shade structure. + Rapana Via ArchDaily Images © Emanuil Albert

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Gorgeous street library in Bulgaria for 1,500 books uses parametric design

LAVA unveils greenery-infused Garden Island to revamp Sydney Harbour

October 20, 2017 by  
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Australia-based firm LAVA just unveiled a stunning proposal for converting an inaccessible plot of land near Sydney Harbour into a sustainable waterfront community. The ambitious Garden Island proposal envisions a vibrant green public space with eco-friendly residential towers and multi-use buildings that would host activities throughout the year. Although the area is currently used by the Royal Australian Navy, the proposal hopes to completely overhaul the area in order to convert it into a new waterfront community. Using a sustainable model , a breezy cityscape would be built along the existing coastline that would include residential and multi-use buildings operating with green technology. The various towers, which would offer stunning views of the harbor, would all be installed with plenty of rooftop terraces and surrounded by public gardens . Related: LAVA’s Winning Design for Masdar’s City Center LAVA’s proposal also includes implementing various adaptive reuse methods where possible. For example, a former dry dock would be converted into a floating market that would have room for public baths, shopping, and performance spaces. The development would also install a number of amenities throughout renovated space such as a waterfront promenade, museums, and various social facilities that would aim to foster a strong sense of community. + LAVA Images via LAVA

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LAVA unveils greenery-infused Garden Island to revamp Sydney Harbour

This company wants to turn food waste into building materials heres how

October 20, 2017 by  
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What do peanuts, rice, bananas, potatoes, and mushrooms have in common? In addition to being delicious, they could be transformed into building materials. In a report entitled The Urban Bio-Loop , the Arup group proposes to use food waste (something developed nations have an abundance of) to develop low-cost and eco-friendly materials for use in construction. The authors of the report aim to demonstrate ‘that a different paradigm for materials in construction is possible.” Because first-world nations, such as the United States , waste up to 40 percent of all food , the goal is to turn the waste into a resource for the creation of “construction, engineering, and architecture products,” reports Archinect . This could be done by modifying the traditional waste management system. Discarded organic materials that could prove useful include peanut shells, which could be used to create low-cost partition boards that are resistant to fire and ice; rice , which could be turned into ash and mixed with cement to eliminate the need for fillers; bananas, a fruit whose leaves can make rugged textiles as a result of high-strength fibers; mushrooms, which can be used to grow buildings ; and potato peels, which can be cleaned, pressed and dried to produce a light, fire-resistant and water-repellent insulating material. The group argues that using food waste for building would contribute to a circular economy where organic waste is put to use, rather than tossed into landfills . Repurposing food waste would also reduce the amount of methane that is produced when fruit and vegetable scraps slowly decompose. The gas contributes to global warming , a phenomenon which results in warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and worsening natural disasters. Related: The free grocery store fighting food waste and hunger Arup’s goal is to ameliorate rising levels of waste and a shortage of raw material. Using the low-cost, low-carbon materials would go a long way towards this goal. + “ The Urban Bio-Loop” Via Archinect Images via Wikipedia , Arup Group

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This company wants to turn food waste into building materials heres how

MVRDV unveils plans for the biggest urban development project in Scandinavia

September 8, 2017 by  
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MVRDV and BSK Arkitekter have grand plans for Gothenburg, Sweden. The two architecture firms just unveiled Magasin 113, a proposed transformation and extension of an existing waterfront warehouse in Gothenburg’s future Frihamnen RiverCity —the largest urban development project in Scandinavia. Once renovated and expanded, the multistory warehouse will offer 16,500 square meters of office space, an art center, pop-up spaces, a cafe, tourist information, retail, restaurants, and studios. Magazine 113 is one of the few remaining historic warehouses in the area. The mixed-use adaptive reuse project blends old and new, and will serve as a public hub for a livable neighborhood. The interior is organized into zones and connected via large freight elevators as well as a family of different types of stairs. An outdoor staircase on the waterfront -facing facade connects the different loading balconies with the main public plaza. The architects plan to expand the concrete building’s footprint with the addition of three new levels of timber-framed floors above. A new public space will join the existing structure and new extension, visually uniting the two and attracting public activity from outside. The original brick facade and interiors will be restored, repaired, and displayed beneath a glazed facade to show off Magazine 113’s industrial heritage. The glazed facade that wraps around the existing concrete warehouse and new timber-framed extension provides insulation and a protective “raincoat.” “This will add an exciting blend of a building that is ‘old’ and new, raw and smooth, and solid and transparent at the same time,” wrote MVRDV. Related: The Sax: MVRDV unveils plans for a ‘vertical city’ in Rotterdam “Magasin 113’s location will become a public node through its close connections to other public spaces in the area,” added the architects. “Combined with the nearby park and pool, it aims to attract a wide range of tenants and services, which in turn will help to create an inviting and desirable neighbourhood.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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MVRDV unveils plans for the biggest urban development project in Scandinavia

Portuguese winery transformed into a minimalist and modern home

September 8, 2017 by  
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A 20th century winery has traded barrels of grapes for family gatherings thanks to the efforts of Extrastudio . The Lisbon-based architecture firm transformed the former winery into a light-filled home in Azeitao, a small village in southern Portugal. The architects retained the gabled structure’s original building footprint, but refreshed its look with a red-colored render that gives the building its new name—the Red House. Built in the 20th century by the client’s grandparents, the winery has been overhauled into a minimalist and modern dwelling complemented with a black-bottomed pool. Despite its contemporary interior, the home exudes rustic appeal thanks to its gabled roofline and uneven application of red-colored render. The facade’s patchy and pinkish appearance, which changes over time, echoes the look of the original weathered walls. “A natural red pigment was added to the mortar, to reinforce the building’s presence, allowing the house to age gradually and changing its tonality, without ever requiring a coat of paint,” said the Extrastudio, according to Dezeen . “Over the days and months, the colour of the house alters, lighter or darker depending on the humidity, almost black when it rains.” The render derives its color from powdered brick and heat-treated clay, a material that protects the facade against weathering damage. Related: 100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs Natural light fills the Red House, which is dominated by white-painted interiors, pale concrete floors, and tall ceilings. Mirrors line the living room to further reflect light. Full-height black glass doors stretch the width of the garden-facing facade on the ground floor and slide completely open to expand the living space to the outdoors. The ground floor comprises the communal areas, arranged in an open-plan layout, while the bedrooms and bathrooms are placed on the floor above. A small room occupies the attic. + Extrastudio Via Dezeen Images via Extrastudio

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