Asia’s largest organic rooftop farm can grow 20 tons of food annually

September 15, 2020 by  
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Organic urban agriculture, renewable energy and beautiful landscaping come together at the Thammasat University Rooftop Farm (TURF), Asia’s largest organic rooftop farm that spans 236,806 square feet. Bangkok-based landscape architecture and urban design firm  LANDPROCESS  designed the productive landscape in response to both the Thai capital’s sprawling urbanization and rising food and water scarcity concerns amid the climate crisis. Equipped with solar panels that produce up to 500,000 watts per hour and rainwater harvesting systems for irrigation, TURF grows more than 40 edible species of crops, including rice, indigenous vegetables, fruit trees and herbs. Located in the  Bangkok  subdistrict Bowon Niwet, TURF’s zigzagging terraced design that merges the earthwork of rice terraces with modern green roof technology takes inspiration from traditional agricultural practices found across Southeast Asia. The cascading terraces not only help organize the different crop areas but are also engineered to absorb, filter and slow down rainwater runoff 20 times more effectively than conventional concrete rooftops. The runoff collects at the bottom of the landscape in four retention ponds capable of holding over 3 million gallons of water total. TURF can provide up to 80,000 meals — 20 tons of organic food — each year for the 40,000 campus residents. The campus canteen collects food waste and uses it for  compost  on the urban farm. TURF also serves as an educational resource for the university and hosts year-round workshops on sustainable agriculture for students and the surrounding community. Social spaces are also built into the landscape, from intimate seating areas to a terraced amphitheater with universal outdoor access to the second-floor auditorium. Related: Eco-friendly Everlasting Forest Pavilion champions circular living in Bangkok “As lush green turns to dry brown, TURF is a realistic, but hopeful solution, putting urban dwellers back in tune with  agricultural  practices,” a press release states. “Lessons on Thai agriculture, landscape and native soil are embedded into TURF, educating future leaders to adapt and embrace climate challenges, by building sustainable cities for generations to come.” + LANDPROCESS Photo credit: Panoramic Studio / LANDPROCESS

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ON-A wants to renature Barcelona by greening the Camp Nou stadium

August 26, 2020 by  
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In a bid to bring greater green space to Barcelona, local architecture firm ON-A has proposed converting the city’s Camp Nou football stadium into a 26-hectare forested park. Dubbed Nou Parc, the design blankets the Camp Nou stadium and surrounding facilities with an undulating green roof strong enough to support a forest of trees. The architects estimate that the resulting park space could produce 15,000 kilograms of oxygen per day and absorb 25,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide daily. Opened in 1957 as the home stadium of FC Barcelona, the 99,354-seat Camp Nou football stadium is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe. According to the architects, less than 10% of the stadium grounds have been allocated to green space, which results in an urban heat island effect and also creates a divide between the neighborhood of Les Corts from the University Area. When the stadium is not in use for sports events or private functions, the massive area is typically disused.  Related: ZHA gets the green light for world’s first all-timber soccer stadium in England The Nou Parc proposal aims to bring greater functionality to Camp Nou with a publicly accessible green and leisure space that would not only better link the nearby neighborhoods but also improve urban air quality . The new park would be created in collaboration with tech company Verdtical so that the undulating green roof blanketing the buildings would be controlled by sensors and artificial intelligence capable of minimizing water consumption. Rainwater would also be collected and stored in two onsite lakes for irrigation of the park.  “Renaturing cities and gaining quality space for citizens is no longer just an interesting idea, it is a necessity,” said Jordi Fernández, co-founder of ON-A Architecture. “We are aware that cities must be re-naturalized, and that green provides unquestionable benefits for health, but the issue is not only green, the debate revolves around blue as well: the water . We cannot be green if that implies an excessive use of resources. The technology for the control of water consumption has come a long way and allows us to innovate and optimize green areas in urban spaces.” + ON-A Images via ON-A

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ON-A wants to renature Barcelona by greening the Camp Nou stadium

Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

August 26, 2020 by  
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People around the world have watched with increasing horror as Amazon forest destruction has accelerated in recent years. Now,  U.K.  officials have proposed a law to make large companies operating within the U.K. comply with environmental laws and show where their products originate.  The new law would cover  soy , rubber, cocoa, palm oil and other commodities. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey, 67% of British consumers want more government oversight on companies, and 81% think businesses should be more transparent about product origin. Related: Indigenous Amazon communities use tech to protect the forest “This consultation is a welcome first step in the fight to tackle the loss of our planet’s irreplaceable natural wonders such as the Amazon and in the pursuit of supply chains free from products that contribute to deforestation ,” said Ruth Chambers from the Greener UK coalition. Additionally, this law could require businesses to publish purchasing details for commodities like soy and  palm oil , to prove the resources were produced following local laws protecting natural ecosystems. Failure to do so would incur fines. Critics say the plan needs ironing out, especially regarding details on penalties. Though delayed, the COP26 climate conference will occur in Glasgow in 2021. In the meantime, the U.K. works to show international leadership on environmental and climate concerns, including deforestation. About 10% of the world’s known species make their home in the  Amazon , which is the largest rainforest and river basin in the world. Already 20% of the Amazon biome has disappeared, and matters are getting worse. At the current rate of deforestation, WWF estimates that more than a quarter of the Amazon biome will be treeless by 2030. The new U.K.  law  remains in the planning stage. Emphasizing the law’s significance, Chambers said, “The evidence linking deforestation with climate change, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonotic diseases is compelling. A new law is an important part of the solution and is urgently needed.” Via BBC and WWF Image via Pexels

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Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

LEED Platinum Stockman Bank harvests rainwater and solar power in Missoula

June 26, 2020 by  
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In Montana’s historic downtown Missoula, a Stockman Bank branch has recently earned LEED v4 Core and Shell Platinum certification — the second building in the U.S and the fifth worldwide to receive such accreditation. Designed by Billings-based architecture firm Cushing Terrell , Stockman Bank’s Missoula location boasts energy-efficient and energy-saving systems throughout, from high-performance glass and solar arrays to an innovative on-site rainwater system that provides 100% of average annual water use for toilet and urinal flushing. The six-story bank uses 75% less energy and 69% less water than a comparable office building. Certified LEED v4 Platinum in September 2019, Stockman Bank’s downtown Missoula branch spans 67,753 square feet across six floors, two of which are used as parking with space for 137 vehicles, covered bicycle parking and electric vehicle charging systems. The top three building levels include outdoor terraces, while the sixth-floor rooftop level features a lush garden space that can be used for meetings, entertaining and community activities. The roof level overlooks panoramic views of Missoula and the surrounding valleys and is also topped with a 48.75 KW photovoltaic array with 150 solar panels that provide 11% of the building’s energy. Related: Solar-powered Lowell Justice Center will be Massachusetts’ first LEED Platinum courthouse Despite the building’s inclusion of high-tech, energy-saving technology, the bank’s appearance is firmly rooted in the local vernacular respectful of its historic district location. The masonry exterior uses brick and quarried granite from South Dakota as well as cast stone detailing and a high-performance glass curtain wall that floods the interior with natural light. Approximately 70% of recycled material was used in the steel frame construction.  In addition to rainwater harvesting and solar panels , the bank includes an open-loop ground source heat pump system and chilled beams as well as energy-efficient elevators with regenerative braking to recoup electricity in descent. + Cushing Terrell Photography by Heidi Long via Cushing Terrell

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LEED Platinum Stockman Bank harvests rainwater and solar power in Missoula

3XN unveils LEED Platinum-seeking Forskaren innovation center in Stockholm

May 12, 2020 by  
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Danish architecture firm 3XN has won a design competition for Forskaren, a new mixed-use innovation center for health and life science companies in Stockholm. Designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the rounded 24,000-square-meter building will draw power from renewable sources. Forskaren will also promote sustainable principles among its tenants with the inclusion of light-filled collaborative spaces and restaurants with eco-friendly fare. Forskaren was designed as part of Hagastaden, a 96-hectare district that is one of the city’s largest and most important urban development projects. The new building will be located between the Karolinska University Hospital and the old Stockholm city hospital to cement the district’s reputation as a world-class destination for research in health, life science and treatment. Hagastaden, which is slated for completion in 2025, also encompasses new housing, a subway station and green spaces. Related: Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the “smartest building advances in Germany” Forskaren reflects the ambitions of the new district with an open and inviting design built largely of natural materials both inside and out. The building will comprise office space for both established companies and startups as well as restaurants, cafes and an exhibition area showcasing cutting-edge life science research. The light-filled building will be centered on an airy atrium with a distinctive spiral staircase. Along with its surrounding square, Forskaren’s amenities will be publicly accessible as part of a plan to make the building a natural gathering point in Hagastaden. To meet LEED Platinum standards, Forskaren will be equipped with rooftop solar panels and geothermal heat pumps. Graywater collected from rainwater harvesting systems will be used for irrigation and watering plants. Expansive glazing, timber solar shades and a series of other energy-efficient building systems will help keep energy use to a minimum. Forskaren is slated for completion in 2024. + 3XN Images via 3XN

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3XN unveils LEED Platinum-seeking Forskaren innovation center in Stockholm

Natural materials make up this energy-saving Jakarta home

April 24, 2020 by  
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Architecture firm Atelier Riri has reaped the energy-saving benefits of Indonesia’s tropical climate in their design of the House at Serpong, a climate-responsive suburban house in Jakarta . After conducting solar studies and site analyses, the architects crafted the four-story home with strategically placed voids, windows, elevated gardens and solar shading devices to reduce unwanted solar gain and take advantage of natural cooling. The home was built primarily of natural materials that give the building a warm and tactile feel. Completed last year, the House at Serpong directly faces a public park on the west side, while its side facade faces the south. To minimize unwanted solar gain , large facade elements were installed on the west and deep overhangs placed along the south. The architects further reduced the energy footprint of the building by setting the structure back from the north and east property lines to ensure that every room would receive indirect sunlight. A central courtyard and a series of open voids also help funnel light indoors and create a stack effect for natural cooling. Additionally, the home is equipped with an energy-saving air conditioning system, solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems on the roof.  The home comprises four levels, each designed for a different function. The ground floor includes the garage and service areas. Communal areas, such as the  open-plan  dining area, living room and kitchen are located on the second floor, as are a guest bedroom, office space and a courtyard with a reflecting pool. The master bedroom with ensuite bath, two additional bedrooms and a media room are on the third floor. The fourth and final floor includes a spacious living area with a kitchen that opens up to an L-shaped rooftop deck and garden through folding doors.  Related: A beachside resort on a remote Indonesian island resembles a traditional village “This house aimed to redefine the modern community of people in Indonesia with a strong composition form using dominant and contextual natural materials,” explained the architects in a project statement. “Each stone, wood, rattan and metal provides unique textural identities in a dynamic line and form.” + Atelier Riri Images by Daniel Jiang

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The Expandable House helps adapt to rapid urbanization

March 5, 2020 by  
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Singapore-based design firm  Urban-Rural Systems  has developed an innovative housing prototype that fights urban sprawl while simultaneously providing better infrastructure for rural-to-urban migrants. Implemented in phases, the project recently completed its second phase this year in Indonesia with the construction of its first Expandable House prototype. True to its name, the dwelling can be flexibly expanded to increase its built area from a single-story, 36-square-meter unit to a three-story, 108-square-meter  mixed-use  building equipped with sustainable decentralized systems such as rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic systems.  The Expandable House (“‘rumah tambah’ in Bahasa Indonesia, or ‘rubah’ for short”) targets rapidly urbanizing regions on the fringes of cities and towns. As the designers explained in a project statement, these are regions where the impact of rapid urbanization “is most directly felt: where land is still relatively cheap, new industrial jobs are springing up, rural migrants often first arrive in the city, and infrastructure is often inadequate to support them.” Additionally, the designers said, “The expandable house tries to respond to this dynamic situation by allowing the dwelling to be flexibly configured around the fluctuating patterns of resource consumption and expenditure, or metabolism, of its residents.” To meet these needs, the Expandable House features a roof that can be raised as well as a floor and foundations strong enough to support up to three floors. This model not only allows for flexible financing — owners can expand their home from a single-story unit to a multi-story unit as needed — but also encourages vertical growth to reduce urban sprawl. The adaptable housing system also incorporates  rainwater  and solar harvesting systems, passive design principles, on-site sewage systems, as well as food production systems to promote self-sufficiency and small-scale business growth.  Related: Passive solar school in Indonesia celebrates the natural landscape Developed in three phases, the Expandable House project began with the Phase 1 design at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. Phase 2 oversaw construction of the prototype in  Indonesia  that began in 2018, with the first floor of 36 square meters, and concluded earlier this year after all three floors were built along with the technical systems, including rainwater harvesting and photovoltaics. Phase 3 will involve piloting the Expandable House on a larger-scale in a project dubbed Tropical Town, also in Indonesia.  + Urban-Rural Systems (URS) Images © Carlina Teteris

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The Expandable House helps adapt to rapid urbanization

Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions

March 4, 2020 by  
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In the coastal township of Barwon Heads, Australian architecture firm Peter Winkler Architects has completed the Green Velvet House, a family’s solar-powered home that sensitively responds to the landscape in more ways than one. Positioned for passive solar design and to maximize views over the surrounding tree canopy, the sustainable dwelling was engineered to minimize impact on the existing terrain. In addition to walls of glass that let in natural light and ventilation, the home draws power from a rooftop solar array and minimizes its environmental footprint with rainwater collection tanks for irrigation and toilet-flushing. Nestled into an existing depression in the site, the Green Velvet House rises to a height of two stories with 580 square meters of living space. Its minimalist appearance — a facade of cement sheets and floor-to-ceiling glazing divided by exposed structural timbers — helps to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. “In response to the program, we have minimized the building footprint by efficiently consolidating the form, rather than creating a sprawling building that overtakes the site,” the team explained. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne To keep the focus on the outdoors, the solar-powered home is surrounded by walls of glass and terraces that invite the owners outdoors on multiple floors. The outdoor spaces and the interiors are protected from unwanted solar gain by generous eaves and horizontal screens. The main living areas and the guest bedroom are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for the more private areas, including the master suite and two children’s bedrooms. Plywood walls and a sealed fiber-cement ceiling reference the exterior materials and lend a sense of warmth to the interiors. Recycled “Grey Ironbark” hardwood columns and beams are also featured throughout the building. For energy efficiency, the Colorbond tray deck roof is fitted with a 10.26 kW photovoltaic system . The aluminum sliding doors are also outfitted with double glazing, while the double-hung, sashless windows can be opened for natural ventilation. Three 5,000-liter water tanks were installed beneath the north deck to store rainwater for garden use and toilet-flushing, while other stormwater runoff is retained in bioswales. The home is also equipped with hydronic heating, wood-burning fireplaces and a Sanden heat pump with a 315-liter water tank. + Peter Winkler Architects Photography by Jack Lovel via Peter Winkler Architects

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Century-old building is reborn as a LEED Platinum home in San Francisco

February 6, 2020 by  
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When architect Jonathan Feldman of Feldman Architecture began remodeling his home in San Francisco in the early 2010s, the growing green building movement in the city inspired him to turn his residence — dubbed ‘The Farm’ after its overgrown backyard — into a testing ground and laboratory for sustainable design. From installing renewable energy systems to sourcing sustainable materials, his pursuit of green, net-zero energy standards earned the project LEED Platinum certification. Purchased with the intent of green renovation, the 1905 historic home that Feldman and his wife, Lisa Lougee, renovated was rebuilt from the inside out to merge the building’s classic Edwardian features with more contemporary elements. Critical to the project’s success was the addition of new windows and skylights as well as an open-floor plan to undo the home’s closed-off character. The basement was also transformed to include a usable backyard and deck. Related: Green-roofed San Francisco townhouse features an indoor swing In pursuit of LEED Platinum certification, Feldman worked with the San Francisco building department to allow an unprecedented type of water system in the city: a water recycling system that includes both rainwater and gray water harvesting with tanks tucked below the rear deck. A heat recovery ventilation system pumps fresh air into the home with minimal energy loss, while solar thermal panels partially heat the mechanical system. All materials are sustainably sourced and non-toxic. Water and electricity monitoring can be accessed via panels throughout the home or smartphone technology. “The key to achieving LEED Platinum or any kind of green standard is to identify and commit early on to the features of interest,” said Feldman, who strives to reach net-zero energy with many of his firm’s projects. “We didn’t push for the passive house standard because we didn’t believe it made sense for this particular project.” + Feldman Architecture Photography by Matthew Millman via Feldman Architecture

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Century-old building is reborn as a LEED Platinum home in San Francisco

Net-zero Del Mar Civic Center celebrates community and the great outdoors

January 30, 2020 by  
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After decades of planning, the Californian seaside city Del Mar has finally welcomed a new civic center to consolidate all of its primary public functions into one location at the heart of the community. Located on a 1.5-acre site with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, the Del Mar Civic Center is the work of West Coast-based The Miller Hull Partnership , who took inspiration for the design from the surroundings. The new civic center is also engineered for net-zero energy operations and is outfitted with a rooftop solar array, a rainwater harvesting system and programmable windows that take advantage of passive ventilation. Set adjacent to Camino Del Mar, the town’s main thoroughfare, the Del Mar Civic Center comprises a 3,000-square-foot Town Hall, a 9,000-square-foot City Hall, a 13,000-square-foot Town Commons and parking for 140 vehicles, most of which is tucked beneath the complex. All of the buildings were constructed with warm, natural materials such as wood and integrally colored concrete; durable ipe wood siding clads much of the exterior. The architects have likened the civic center to a set of family beachside cabins translated into a series of interconnected structures that follow the contours of the site to maintain a low-slung residential profile. Related: Lush greenery blankets a passive solar community center in Singapore The architects preserved 40% of the site as open space for gardens showcasing native and drought-tolerant plants, active and passive courtyards and a dedicated area for the community farmers market. Further emphasizing the complex’s connection to the outdoors is the abundance of windows, which frame views of the Pacific Ocean in almost every room and promote natural ventilation. Additional sustainable features include the complex’s partial earth sheltering for temperature regulation, porous paving, EV charging stations, daylight sensors and stormwater swales. “City Halls have evolved into being much more than places representing civic gravitas,” noted Mike Jobes, design principal for the project. “They are a public investment in the infrastructure for the social aspects of community , where civic identity is formed through the ritual of public gatherings that are made possible by these spaces.” + The Miller Hull Partnership Photography by Chipper Hatter via The Miller Hull Partnership

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