Seoul green city has food within a 10-minute walk anywhere

November 15, 2021 by  
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Hyundai Development Company hired UNStudio in 2019 to design a green, mixed-used neighborhood in Seoul, Korea , a 10-minute city for the new digital economy. That means mixed-use spaces, green energy and digital packages for residents who are expected to live, work and play in the 504,000 square meter neighborhood. Project H1’s added technology lifestyle package is designed to go beyond traditional smart city models to serve residents in ways that free up time for leisure. Digital infrastructure also can manage energy production and consumption, communal spaces and local food production. Will it work? The plan is to create all desired amenities from a larger city, including food within a 10-minute walk of anyone’s home within the development. “For the H1 masterplan, we have aimed to create the ultimate contemporary 10-minute city , where the daily life experience of the residents is the top priority,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio who helped head the project. “We do this through the inclusion of a rich density of uplifting, curated on-site experiences that provide an extensive range of options for how they can spend their living, working and leisure time, thereby also saving them the time needed to travel elsewhere in the city — because with time that is saved, more time is created.” The plan proposes to achieve these goals through System Design, which focuses on flexibility, adaptability and arranging components of a neighborhood according to varying needs. “We have taken an approach of ‘flexible urban density.’ This enables the multi-functional use of public space and employs mixed-use organizational models to ensure that the residents can meet, connect and socialize, both in planned and spontaneous scenarios,” added Berkel. “The components of the masterplan not only encourage the creation of strong community bonds, the proposed digital service packages also create an unprecedented level of convenience for the residents.” + UNStudio Images via WAX & Virgin Lemon

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Biophilic Belgian Pavilion features futuristic sustainable design

November 12, 2021 by  
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The theme of Expo 2020 Dubai is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” In line with this, the Belgian Pavilion, called The Green Arch, seeks to be exemplary in the realm of sustainable development. The architects, Vincent Callebaut Architectures and Assar Architects, have used futuristic design through greenery, solid timber construction and passive energy to showcase how developments in architecture will give rise to environmentally-friendly cities. Located in the “Mobility District” of the Expo site, the building serves several purposes. By organizing the main exhibits on higher floors, the ground level is left open for use by the public and features delectable Belgian gastronomy. The pavilion also maximizes the prevailing west-east winds of Dubai and creates a well-ventilated covered space with 3D-printed white concrete street furniture. Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion The Green Arch is also a “bridge-building” that links the Mobility and Sustainability districts at Expo 2020. The pavilion is formed of two pillars and a vault with double curvature, also known as a hyperbolic paraboloid. The paraboloid that envelopes the project is made of 5.5 linear kilometers of spruce cross-laminated timber ( CLT ) and forms a giant mashrabiya, an intricate perforated screen that controls sunlight and filters in cool breezes, taking a modern approach to Middle Eastern vernacular latticework. The pavilion is powered by renewable energy and uses a large photovoltaic canopy to produce electricity and heat water for the building. The playfully cantilevering balconies and extensive rooftop not only provide views to other parts of the Expo site but also house over 2,500 plants, shrubs and trees, which are drip-irrigated and create the pavilion’s refreshing microclimate through evapotranspiration. Through educational scenography, visitors embark on an immersive experience through the country in 2050, encompassing the theme of a technologically advanced and eco-friendly Belgium in the decades to come. A futuristic escalator is designed to simulate the experience of a space-time tunnel, casting the guests to the future and into the exhibits that showcase how the nation’s three regions, Brussels , Flanders and Wallonia, are working towards a smarter, greener future. Upon the completion of the Expo 2020 event, the pavilion will not be destroyed. “The building will not be doomed to destruction,” said Pierre-Yves Dermagne, the Belgian Federal Minister for the Economy. “Everything has been done so that it can be rebuilt , I hope, in Belgium.” + Vincent Callebaut Architectures and Assar Architects Images courtesy of Nizar Bredan, Greg O’Leary, and Vincent Callebaut

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Scotland’s plastic ban may fail due to UK’s internal strife

November 12, 2021 by  
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The Scottish government has announced it will ban the sale of plastic straws, cutlery and polystyrene food packaging next year. This is part of a larger plan to reduce plastic waste and cut pollution. The ban will include all polystyrene food packaging containers and their lids, as well as balloon sticks, plates, coffee stirrers and other single-use plastics. Although the Scottish government has pledged to enact the ban on June 1, doubts abound due to its entanglement in U.K. climate policies. The ban itself is parallel to a similar ban planned across the U.K. Individual countries within the union have expressed their doubts about the ban’s effectiveness, prompting the move for individual policies. Related: Innovative biomaterials to help the world replace plastic The U.K. is accused of being slow to enact key climate decisions. In 2020, England banned plastic straws, cotton buds and drink stirrers, but the ban has yet to begin. The U.K. is still consulting on the matter, in a process that seems to be taking a lifetime. Due to such delays, the Scottish government is worried the ban could be undermined by the U.K. market’s internal rules. Under U.K. market rules, all the countries in the union have to wait for a harmonized move on climate matters, since they share the same market and customers. According to Lorna Slater, a Scottish Green Party Minister, the climate disaster is an emergency and should be addressed fast. Slater says there is no time to waste since the oceans and landfills are already overwhelmed by plastic waste. “Every year, hundreds of millions of pieces of single-use plastic are wasted in this country,” Slater said. “They litter our coasts, pollute our oceans and contribute to the climate emergency. That has to end and this ban will be another step forward in the fight against plastic waste and throwaway culture.” Slater has expressed her fears over the matter, saying that if the ban is implemented in Scotland alone, it might be sidestepped by people shopping in England. The minister has written to other ministers to see whether the U.K. could consider allowing Scotland to make independent policies on the matter.  The U.K. and its four member states have been criticized for being reluctant to implement these bans. Already,  the E.U. and its 27 member states  have banned single-use plastics. The U.K. is now under pressure to speed up its process to avoid littering the region. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Old New York school will be re-used into a community center

November 8, 2021 by  
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A team of professionals, including architects, designers and construction contractors, have been selected by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development to redesign and develop the East Harlem Multi-Service Center. Located on 413 East 120th St., the historic school building will be redesigned to become a multi-purpose community center. The Beacon team will include experts from Paul A. Castrucci Architect (PAC), WXY architecture, Body Lawson Associates and Terrain NYC under the leadership of The Community Builders and Ascendant Neighborhood Development. These experts will be working together to bring the winning design to life. Related: CLT gives a sustainable community center in Copenhagen a welcoming feel In a press release, PAC expressed its enthusiasm about the project, calling it a sustainable and progressive design. The multi-service center will not only help develop an interactive space , but will also help minimize waste. In normal circumstances, old buildings such as Harlem are destroyed and the land put to a different use. However, the PAC design offers a solution that will allow redesigning the existing building, adding other structures that will bring out the beauty of the center. The new development will add 29 new affordable homes. Up to 30% of the new homes will be set aside for the homeless or households that have experienced homelessness at some point. Housing demand in New York usually outweighs availability, however, the project will be valuable but also sustainable. The new residential building will be developed north of the existing East Harlem multi-service center. The center itself will be rehabilitated in accordance with a design presented by PAC. In their proposal, PAC presented a strong case for retaining the existing building. They argued that keeping the structure and developing it would help maintain the architectural structure of the neighborhood. Further, the proposed new building would offer a model for sustainability and reduce carbon footprint. With the new design, the team will be tasked with constructing the new building while retaining key aspects of the traditional service center. Aspects such as after-school programming areas must be retained while creating new ones such as a new atrium and green spaces . Besides retaining the old building, the project will also look at other areas of reducing emissions. For instance, the new proposed building will have rooftop solar, which will serve energy for some of the homes. Approximately, the solar panels will generate 280 kilowatt of solar, cutting power use up to 20%. Additionally, the designer came up with a plan that tries to answer the future needs of the building users. In their initial proposal, PAC sought to work with an existing structural grid built to keep the flow plate structurally open. “The ground floor of the existing building will be lowered for accessibility ,” said PAC in a press release. “Lowering the ground floor, along with increasing the size of the ground floor storefront openings, will create a direct connection with the street.” Although not a new design, PAC has demonstrated that old buildings can be repurposed into something beautiful instead of being completely destroyed. + Paul A. Castrucci Architects Images via WXY Studio

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Nike playground is made of 20,000 upcycled sneakers

October 27, 2021 by  
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Legendary sports company Nike has dominated the headlines for its dedication to a zero carbon and zero waste future. One project at a time, they have drawn attention to sustainable actions and corporate responsibility when it comes to protecting the environment . The latest move, a community playground and basketball area located in New Belgrade, Serbia, showcases the company’s mission to encourage physical activity while providing education about ways to develop infrastructure in less impactful ways.  Nike partnered with London-based creative agency Accept & Proceed, who they had previously worked with on Nike’s “Move to Zero” initiative. As a certified B Corporation studio , Accept & Proceed designed the renewal of Block 70, a historical area that saw the rise of several professional players in basketball. Community pride in this connection is seen in the “BLOK 70,” printed in original typeface, on the surface of the courtyard. Accept & Proceed came up with the plans for the court design, children’s playground, bleacher benches, chain link fence, outdoor gym, collection bins, in-store campaign presence and restoration of existing elements. Related: Nike ACG collection gives traction to eco-friendly apparel “With Nike Belgrade, we evolved the visual language we had developed for Nike’s ‘Move to Zero’ identity by incorporating bespoke Serbian lettering in the court markings to celebrate New Belgrade’s local community ,” said Nigel Cottier, Accept & Proceed’s principal designer. “We had an interesting exercise that challenged our thinking of spaces for sport: what if we break down the essential ingredients of a basketball court and reimagine the traditional court layout? How can we create a fun and unexpected space, whilst retaining legibility and playability ? It was fascinating to come up with the different elements of lettering that can inform another function, like a free throw or half court line, and even more exciting to think that the design will not only inform the players’ movements, but influence the community spirit and energy of Block 70.” With a focus on community and activity, the park reflects the need to be environmentally conscious through the use of 20,000 recycled sneakers in the mix. In fact, the community was involved in the program all along with collection spaces for citizens to drop used shoes. At the drop sites, the community could see the steps involved in transforming the shoes into a material that could be used for the surface of the resulting basketball court and playground.   “It’s no understatement that helping the world’s best sports brand with its sustainability initiative makes me feel immensely proud of the work we’re doing at Accept & Proceed,” said Matthew Jones, Accept & Proceed’s creative director. “Our visual identity for Nike’s ‘Move to Zero’ brand came to life within our court and playground design in New Belgrade and I feel incredibly inspired to know that design, community and responsibility towards our planet were all integral elements in this project. Moreover, to witness and be part of the meaningful connections between Nike and local communities shows a new way forward, especially for the role of designers — a sowing of the seeds for an active future and better tomorrow.” + Accept & Proceed  Photography by Rastko Šurdi?

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Czech Republic sports hall maximizes passive energy

October 26, 2021 by  
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Encircled by a deciduous forest, the Sports Hall by OV-Architekti provides a space of gathering and leisure for the small community of Borky, northeast of Kolín in the Czech Republic . The 2,300 square meters space harnesses a welcoming atmosphere and can be accessed by the public through a cycle path along the Elbe River. The sports center consists of a single-story building with a large wooden box extending upwards that demarcates the double-height sports hall. This volume stretches above the lower half of the building and brings in natural light through large rectangular openings that run on the long edges of the space. The roof slab of the shorter, concrete mass extends over the building on all sides, allowing for shaded circulation along the perimeter. Related: Ariake Gymnastics Centre resembles a floating ship The recreation facility’s elegant aesthetic is attributed to its minimalist material used. Concrete and wood are the two primary materials to create a modern, welcoming atmosphere. On the exterior, the concrete creates a grounded mass, juxtaposing the airy, wood-clad sports hall rising above. On the interior, much of the concrete structure remains exposed, including the precast columns and concrete panel infill. In other parts of the facility, the walls are clad with horizontal wood slats, reminiscent of the vertical strips that wrap the double-height space on the exterior. Beyond the materiality, modern design is showcased through the flexibility of the spaces. The facility’s entrance lobby flows into a dining area, which can be left open for gatherings or closed off if needed. The sports court can also be split into up to three segments for different activities to take place simultaneously, while still allowing for the seating tribune to provide spectators with a view of the action. The building uses passive energy to create a comfortable interior environment, working with the site climate and optimized by insulation. The structure is thermally insulated using an External Thermal Insulation Composite System (ETICS). On the interior, acoustic sealing is concealed under the wooden cladding. A small, photovoltaic power plant is installed on the lower roof to power the heat pumps, which heat and cool the spaces alongside ventilation provided through large openings. + OV-Architekti Photography by BoysPlayNice

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This futuristic design uses recycled bottles, coffee and oranges

October 20, 2021 by  
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Dubai Expo’s Italian Pavilion is a futuristic, sustainable creation. The 38,000-square-feet (3,500-square-meter) masterpiece opened on Oct. 1 at Dubai Expo 2020. Designed by Carlo Ratti Associati ( CRA ) and Italo Rota Building Office, the Italian Pavilion stands out for its creativity in utilizing sustainable materials. Thanks to its innovative design and materials, the building has already won Best Entrepreneurial Project of the Year at the Construction Innovation Awards. Related: WOHA’s final design for Singapore Pavilion nears completion These innovative materials include 2 million recycled plastic bottles that form a multimedia facade. The designers also used recycled algae, coffee grounds and orange peels as building materials. Recycling, reusing and renewing are at the core of the design. The roof is probably the most outstanding part of the entire design. It uses three boat hulls that could set sail immediately after Dubai Expo. According to Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the MIT Senseable City Lab, the Pavilion addresses issues that architectural designs have failed to address for many years. “Our design for the Italian Pavilion deals with what I believe is architecture’s most important challenge today: advancing the double convergence between the natural and the artificial. It anticipates issues and suggests strategies that will be increasingly crucial for the future of our cities as we address the consequences of the current climate crisis ,” Ratti said. The facade is fitted with LEDs that can be lit to transform the entire building into a multimedia surface. According to the designers, the bottles that make up the surface can be used again after the expo ends. But what about the coffee grounds and orange peels used in the design? The coffee and orange peels were left to dry and turned into powder used to coat suspended pathways. The setting of the Italian Pavilion on a five-meter-high dune made out of locally sourced sand also speaks to the design’s sustainable focus. + CRA Images © Michele Nastasi

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Vertima’s environmental consulting helps businesses go green

October 20, 2021 by  
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Businesses worldwide have begun looking for ways to increase the sustainable components of their companies while decreasing the environmental impact of inefficient buildings,  waste  and pollution. One Canadian company has stepped in to act as a consultant for businesses looking to make those kinds of changes, and it’s called Vertima.  Started in 2008 by Josée Lupien and Jean DesRosiers, Vertima is a group of environmental strategies professionals that have the answers companies are looking for regarding everything from building materials to air quality inside the office. Related: Google’s first retail location earns LEED Platinum certification The team at Vertima offers expert advice in its collaborations with real estate developers, manufacturers and training organizations. One of its top goals is to support businesses as they seek to achieve LEED ® certification. Vertima also guides businesses toward carbon-neutral practices and helps them become more eco-responsible. The company has analyzed and validated over 1,000 products with environmental properties and features and has completed more than 91 sustainable building certification projects, including LEED, WELL and Green Globes. The team has developed over 250 collaborative workshops on integrated design processes (ICP) and trained over 950 professionals in the construction industry. To entice businesses to invest time in listening and learning through the training programs, Quebec’s Commission des partenaires du marché du travail has recognized the program in a way that gives training credits to employees who participate. Vertima training is also approved by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) for those maintaining their LEED® specialized professional designation. According to the Vertima website, “We offer high-quality professional consulting services to meet the needs of our clients and create economic,  environmental  and social value through each mandate.”  Most recently, Vertima completed the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management for the Place Ville Marie (PVM) business campus. Ivanhoé Cambridge, the client on the project, is the first company in Canada to obtain the certification. It’s a standard that highlights PVM’s commitment to the highest standards for cleaning and sanitization, emergency preparedness, health service resources and air and water quality management to respond to the pandemic and meet the future needs of PVM’s occupants. In another recent project, the team offered guidance for the environmental requirements and performance during construction of the new Maison Radio-Canada, owned by Broccolini, and similarly for the Ericsson corporate campus, a LEED® gold-level project of MONTONI. “We want to make a difference by facilitating the implementation of environmental strategies within companies,” said Lupien, LEED Fellow, WELL AP, President of Vertima. “Through our team of passionate and highly skilled professionals, we create economic value for any company that wants to update its certifications or environmental practices.” + Vertima Images via Vertima and Pixabay

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99.9% of scientists agree climate crisis is caused by humans

October 20, 2021 by  
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99.9% of scientists globally agree that burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal is the main cause of climate change. They also concur that climate change is caused by human actions, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The case for global action at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, where world leaders will meet to discuss the climate crisis , is strengthened by the study. In 2013, a survey since 1991 culminated in the conclusion that 97% of scientists viewed that climate change was caused by human actions. The other three percent were of a contrary opinion. Related: United Nations rejects youth activist climate petition This study has been expanded by a recent  Cornell University  paper that shows a significant decline in dissenting voices. Over the years, evidence continues to mount, showing that global warming is being caused by burning fossil fuels. In the latest paper of peer review literature, several scientific studies were examined to determine those with contrary opinions. From 2012 to 2020, 3000 random sample studies were reviewed. Only four papers published in little-known journals turned out to be skeptical of the fact that climate change was being caused by humans. Furthermore, the researchers searched the full database of case studies within the highlighted periods for skeptical keywords such as “natural cycles” and “ cosmic rays ,” and only found 28 papers published in minor journals. These publications account for less than 1% of all the papers published. “It is really case closed. There is nobody of significance in the scientific community who doubts human-caused climate change,” said Mark Lynas, lead author and visiting fellow at Cornell University. Although the scientific community seems to be in agreement, the general public remains misled on issues of climate change. Big oil companies have been running advertisements that allude to a lack of consensus on the issues of climate change. In a similar manner, politicians have also managed to confuse the public about the matter. As reported by The Guardian, “only 27% of US adults believed that “almost all” scientists agreed the climate emergency was caused by human activity.” Additionally, most senior Republicans cast doubt on the link between human action and the climate crisis. 30 U.S. senators and 109 representatives still won’t acknowledge that human actions have caused climate change. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Coral-like architecture in the Philippines is stackable

September 30, 2021 by  
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Architecture can reflect the culture of the area and showcase sustainable design. The Cagbalete Sand Clusters, located in Taguig, Philippines, is a multi-use development designed with respect for the surrounding ecology and history of farming and fishing in the area.  Cagbalete Sand Clusters is made of prefabricated sections that can be placed and added on to in a horizontal or vertical direction. Each of the units, individually or placed together, showcase the coral design inspired by the local marine ecology .  Related: GOMMAdesign’s Coral City is a Self-Sustaining Eco-Village for the Philippines Lead architect Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc. and client C Ideation envisioned a community they described as “ farm leisure.” They are developing a self-sustaining group of clusters that rely on electricity produced from solar umbrella pods and passive design techniques such as natural ventilation.  The structures include a private family home and a restaurant that offers farm-to-table endemic plant species and seasonal mud crabs from nearby farms. This not only speaks to healthy living and local industry, but mud crab farming is also credited with preventing soil erosion and protection of vital mangroves. Hapa nets throughout the structure offer protection from the weather and insects while reflecting the historic use of the nets. “They have elevated the humble hapa net into something beyond its utilitarian origins,” stated the press release. “It is now both part of the structure’s construction membrane, a tool for food production, and a web that facilitates the daily activities of the structure’s inhabitants, enmeshing time, culture and space .” For residents and visitors, the design includes a saltwater grotto, along with mud pools and soaking pools. The designers hope the multi-focused design elements cater to tourists, specifically eco-tourism, while honoring the Filipino culture — which spans 7,641 islands made up of varying natural and community elements.  Cagbalete Sand Clusters won the Food Category of the WAFX Awards this year. The project is also a finalist in the “Experimental” Category of the World Architecture Festival, which will be held this December 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal. + Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.  Images via Carlo Calma Consultancy Inc.

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