Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse

December 23, 2019 by  
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In the historic center of Oberhausen, Berlin-based architectural firm Kuehn Malvezzi has created a job center topped with a greenhouse in an unprecedented example of “building-integrated agriculture” in Germany. Named Altmarktgarten Oberhausen, the mixed-use facility symbolizes old and new: the brick-and-steel material palette references the area’s historic architecture, while the greenhouse serves as a place for innovative urban farming research. For a reduced environmental footprint, the architects installed systems for recycling rainwater, gray water and waste heat from the building operations. Created in collaboration with landscape architects atelier le balto and awarded the winner in a 2016 architecture competition, the mixed-use facility was constructed on the site of an old market hall at Oberhausen’s Altmarkt. The first five stories of the building function as a job center, while the top floor and rooftop greenhouse are used by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT). An interior courtyard with a vertical garden helps visually connect the sawtooth-roofed greenhouse with the brick building below. The vertical garden — which comprises hardy climbing plants, like the crimson glory vine and common hop, on a galvanized steel structure — are complemented with a bed of small shrubs and ground cover plantings. Related: A “floating” greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home “The building, designed by Kuehn Malvezzi, blends confidently but calmly into the historical city,” the architects said. “The specificity of this important urban location results from the tension between the physicality of the brick building and the filigree lightness of the rooftop greenhouse planned in cooperation with Haas Architekten. From the regularity of its structure, the greenhouse on each of the three sides of the street forms its own conclusion, which responds sensitively to each context.” To access the greenhouse, visitors are led from a lime tree-lined market square, past the courtyard with the vertical garden and up a steel staircase to the roof. Operated by the municipality, the publicly accessible greenhouse overlooks views of Oberhausen’s historic center and the city beyond. + Kuehn Malvezzi Photography by Hiepler Brunier via Kuehn Malvezzi

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Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse

Solar-powered Austin home embraces sustainability in more ways than one

November 13, 2019 by  
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In South Austin, Miró Rivera Architects has completed the Westridge Residence, a contemporary home with an emphasis on sustainable design. Built for a family of four, the sculptural home features rounded roofs on its two structures — the main house and a detached garage with a guest apartment — connected with a trellis of rebar suspended in a natural curve. To minimize its environmental footprint, the house is powered with solar and geothermal energy and was built with durable, long-lasting materials to minimize long-term maintenance. Set on the flattest part of a wooded sloping site in the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, the Westridge Residence was designed to follow the natural terrain and minimize site impact. To take advantage of the site’s natural beauty, the home opens up to the outdoors with large windows, glazed sliding doors and outdoor decks on both levels. The outdoor Ipei deck that connects the two buildings also conceals five 2,000-gallon rainwater storage tanks that are used for irrigation and to compensate for seasonal evaporation loss in the adjacent 40-foot-long swimming pool. Related: Solar-powered Austin home can save owners nearly $100K in energy costs The main house includes an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen as well as the master suite on the ground floor. The upper level contains two bedrooms, a playroom with a kitchenette, a small media room and a flex room in addition to the open-air covered deck. The detached guest house contains an open-air carport, workshop and storeroom below; the upper level holds a home office and a guest apartment with a bathroom and kitchenette. To reduce the home’s energy demands, the architects specified “double wall” construction for a highly insulated envelope with R-21 walls and R-30 ceilings. Installation of Energy Star-certified lighting fixtures and appliances as well as a 6.8-kW rooftop solar system and a geothermal loop field have translated to energy savings of approximately 22 percent annually as compared to an energy model from a baseline case study. During construction, waste was minimized and recycled wherever possible. In the revegetation of the landscape, invasive species were replaced with native plants. + Miró Rivera Architects Photography by Paul Finkel | Piston Design and Cris DeWitt via Miró Rivera Architects

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Solar-powered Austin home embraces sustainability in more ways than one

Excessive road salt threatens public health and wildlife

November 13, 2019 by  
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Many people and municipalities turn to road salt to de-ice wintry streets and sidewalks. Unfortunately, road salt poses serious environmental and water contamination risks. Just one teaspoon is enough to contaminate 5 gallons of water, making removal via reverse osmosis extremely expensive. Moreover, the health of humans, pets, wildlife , aquatic organisms, vegetation, soil and infrastructure are heavily impacted as road salts enter the environment, seeping into groundwater and draining via runoff into freshwater estuaries. At the forefront of advocating for better practices on road salt use is the Izaak Walton League’s Winter Salt Watch program. Just last winter, the League dispensed 500 chloride test kits to volunteers across 17 states. Tests showed consistently high levels of chloride ions in waterways surrounding eight major metropolitan areas, signaling excessive misuse of road salts. This year, the League has sent out a batch of chloride test kits to more than 200 new volunteers. Related: The Ocean Cleanup reveals the Interceptor to remove plastic pollution from rivers “Our goal is to not only make residents aware of the impact road salt has on local streams but also give them the tools to advocate for changes to road salt practices that will decrease salt impacts while keeping roads safe for drivers,” explained Samantha Briggs, the League’s Clean Water Program Director. Road salts are mainly comprised of sodium chloride, ferrocyanide (an anti-caking substance) and impurities like aluminum, cadmium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, nickel, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. All of these components are contaminants in water and exacerbate salinity levels. What risks do they pose? The sodium chloride, for instance, breaks down into sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-) ions. Sodium in drinking water is unhealthy for individuals suffering from hypertension, or high blood pressure, which explains the EPA’s measure of monitoring sodium content in public water supplies. Meanwhile, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has issued warnings regarding road salt ingestion and dangers to paw health of pets. Paw exposure to road salt exposure begets irritation, inflammation and cracking that leads to infection. When road salt is licked off paws or eaten, pets can exhibit vomiting, diarrhea, depression, disorientation, cardiac abnormalities, seizures, coma and even premature death. As for wildlife impacts, once road salt enters a body of water, it is nearly impossible to remove. This adversely affects bird, amphibian, mammal, fish and aquatic plant populations. Road salt in the environment elevates both salinity stress and osmotic stress, which are associated with aberrant development, nutrient uptake degradation, toxicosis, weakened immune systems, low reproductive levels, population decline and mortality. When road salt damages vegetation, that creates losses in food resources, shelter and breeding sites. Similarly, road salt’s presence accelerates infrastructure corrosion and structural integrity. Streets, highways and bridges are all subject to damage as road salt impairs asphalt and creates potholes. The corrosion extends to vehicles, as repeated salt exposure increases rusting and damage to critical vehicle components, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA) . Even more worrisome, road salts damage water pipes, causing toxic metals, like lead or copper, to leach into drinking water. To promote awareness and best practices regarding the hazards of de-icing, the Izaak Walton League has been pushing for “smarter ways” of using road salt, especially with “alternative approaches that include brine or sand application.” For those interested in volunteering as a stream monitor with the League’s Winter Salt Watch program to help gauge water quality and road salt risks, a free chloride test kit can be ordered here . + Izaak Walton League of America Image via Eddie Welker

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Excessive road salt threatens public health and wildlife

Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

June 3, 2019 by  
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Looking for a summer getaway that checks the boxes for chic and environmentally friendly style? Meet Lava Homes , a new eco resort  on Azores’ Pico Island that’s a relaxing escape for nature- and yoga-lovers alike. Tucked into a hillside with breathtaking views of the sea, the 14-villa resort was designed by Portuguese architectural firm Diogo Mega Architects to embody nature conservation and sustainable principles as evidenced by its minimized site disturbance, use of renewable energy and locally sourced materials. Completed this year, Lava Homes is located on a steep slope along the north coast of Pico Island in the tiny parish of Santo Amaro, an area with superb views and few tourist lodgings. To respect the island landscape and cultural heritage, the architects preserved elements of existing ruins on site — old houses and animal enclosures — and carefully sited the buildings to minimize site impact and to mimic the layout of a small village. “The project was designed to alter as little as possible the topography of the land, so that the integration of the houses was as harmonious as possible,” the architects explained. “Our positioning is based on the conservation of nature, environmental quality and the safeguarding of the historical-cultural heritage and local identity. All housing units are equipped with photovoltaic panels , heating is done by salamanders to pellets, cooling is done by natural ventilation, water tanks have been kept for use in the irrigation, and the drinking water served is filtered local water by an active carbon system.” Related: Azulik, an eco-paradise in Tulum, celebrates the four natural elements Lava Homes offers three types of villas that range from one to three bedrooms; a glass-walled multipurpose center with a yoga room, meeting areas and a pool; and Magma, an on-site restaurant and bar that features locally sourced fare. The contemporary architecture was built from locally sourced materials, including stone and Cryptomeria wood from the islands. For energy efficiency, all glass openings are double glazed . Renewable energy sources — from heat pumps and photovoltaic panels to pellet stoves — are used throughout. Rainwater is also recycled for irrigation in the gardens that are planted with native and endemic flora. + Diogo Mega Architects Images via Miguel Cardoso e Diogo Mega

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Escape to the Azores at this charming eco resort by the sea

Lush green roof camouflages the Chameleon Villa into the Indonesian tropics

July 16, 2018 by  
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True to its name, the Chameleon Villa is a residence that seamlessly blends into its forested surroundings in Bali thanks to its integration of a lush green roof. Designed by international architecture practice Word of Mouth House , the contemporary home spans nearly 11,000 square feet, yet deftly hides its bulk with landscaped roofs. The “camouflaged” roofs also help promote natural cooling and are integrated with rainwater collection and recycling systems as well as solar panels. Located in the village of Buwit in southwest Bali, the Chameleon Villa is set on an acre of densely forested land with steep and challenging terrain, including a level change of 36 feet. To blend the building into the site as much as possible, the designers at Word of Mouth House crafted the home as a cluster of volumes that step down the slope and are carefully positioned to follow the original contour lines and to optimize views of the river below and forest beyond. A natural materials palette  — with locally sourced elements like teak wood, iron wood and natural stone — further blends the dwelling into the landscape. Related: Beautiful bamboo pavilion in Bali translates the flexibility of yoga into architecture “We worked on the idea of ‘landscaped architecture’ by blurring the boundaries between natural and built environments,” explained the firm. “As a result, the buildings appear to be a part of the land itself sometimes disappearing within it, and then at other times, emerging from it. As per traditional Balinese architecture the different pavilions accommodate different functions and all communal spaces are kept open towards the elements whereas the bedrooms and other more private spaces such as office, gym and media room are close-able volumes.” The vibrant green roofs keep the lower spaces comfortable through passive cooling, and this vegetation also aids in rainwater collection. The residents can recycle the water for use in garden irrigation. The home also produces clean energy through solar panels, further adding to its sustainable features. + Word of Mouth House Images by Daniel Koh

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Lush green roof camouflages the Chameleon Villa into the Indonesian tropics

Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

July 16, 2018 by  
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In Sydney’s affluent suburb of Kirribilli, a contemporary solar-powered home stands out from its Victorian manor neighbors. Local design practice Bijl Architecture reworked an existing semi-detached home into the Doorzien House, a two-story home that takes full advantage of its sweeping Sydney harbor views. In addition to floor-to-ceiling glazing installed in the rear of the house, glass elements are used throughout the home — in the form of skylights, flooring, highlight panels and balustrades — to fill the interior with light. The clients tapped Bijl Architecture to design a home that pursued a modern typology. To satisfy the project brief and comply with local heritage expectations, the architects restored and preserved the home’s traditional street-facing facade while inserting a contemporary zinc -clad addition to the rear side of the house that draws inspiration from the neighborhood’s naval and industrial history. The back of the property is opened up to the outdoors and overlooks views of Careening Cove, Neutral Harbor and Kurraba Point. “To embrace our clients’ desired openness and connectivity between the floor levels and surrounding context, we dismantled the existing plan,” the architects explained. “The broad Sydney Harbor view and neighboring vistas are exploited by the hybridized living spaces, while each room retains its individual focus and remains intimate and warm through the material palette and layered lighting. We oriented living spaces to the rear; multiple interior viewlines serve as a counterpoint to the expansive harbor views. This approach continues to the rear garden, with bleacher-style steps moderating the level change, extending the study and sitting room interiors to form a third living space.” Related: This self-sustaining Australian home harvests its own food, energy, and water A 3.5kW system of Nu-Lok solar roof tiles was the first approved installation for a NSW conservation area. The solar system and Redback Technologies’ Gen II inverter and battery are part of the clients’ plan to eventually move their home off-grid . + Bijl Architecture Images by Katherine Lu

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Glass elements dramatically open up a solar-powered Sydney home

Steven Holl Architects unveils funky Parachute Hybrids residences for Moscow

February 9, 2018 by  
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Steven Holl Architects and Art-group Kamen have unveiled designs for a playful and unusual-looking mixed-use development set to rise in Moscow’s Tushino district. Punctuated by giant circles and topped with green roofs, these asymmetrical glass buildings won an international design competition, beating out proposals from the likes of Fuksas Architecture and Zaha Hadid Architects. The project draws from the site’s history as a former paratrooper airfield and proposes a new building typology that the architects call “Parachute Hybrids.” Located along the bank of the Moscow River, the new mixed-use center will comprise housing, social spaces, a kindergarten and an elementary school. A large public garden and playground space occupies the heart of the project—a reference to the site’s former use as a historic paratrooper airfield—with optimal access to natural light . “The new building type we have proposed here, inspired by the site’s history, is unique to this place,” said Steven Holl. His firm describes the “Parachute Hybrids” typology as one that “combines residential bar and slab structures with supplemental programming suspended in sections above, like parachutes frozen in the sky.” Related: Renzo Piano to convert a Moscow power station into a solar-powered arts center Sustainability is also a central component of the design. In addition to green roofs , the buildings will incorporate solar pergolas, rainwater recycling, geothermal heating and cooling, as well as optimize daylighting. Apartments will feature operable glass that opens up to balconies. + Steven Holl Architects + Art-group Kamen Images by Steven Holl Architects and Art-group Kamen

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Steven Holl Architects unveils funky Parachute Hybrids residences for Moscow

LEED Gold BBVA Bancomer HQ is a beacon of sustainability in Mexico City

February 11, 2016 by  
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Luciano Pia’s incredible urban treehouse protects against air and noise pollution in Turin

March 11, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Luciano Pia’s incredible urban treehouse protects against air and noise pollution in Turin Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green wall” , 25 verde , air pollution , apartment building , carbon dioxide , CO2 , geothermal energy , green roof , italy , luciano pia , noise pollution , oxygen , rainwater recycling , Sustainable Building , Turin , urban greenhouse

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Luciano Pia’s incredible urban treehouse protects against air and noise pollution in Turin

Transbay Center: San Francisco is Building the Future of Public Transportation Beneath a 5.4-Acre Rooftop Park

July 8, 2014 by  
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$1.9 billion; 1.5 million square feet; 45 million passengers each year: this is the future of public transportation . When it is completed in 2017, San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center will be the “Grand Central Station of the West Coast,” connecting eight Bay Area counties and the state of California with a total of 11 transit systems – all sheltered beneath a 5.4 acre rooftop park. The modern transit hub is targeting LEED Gold certification with rainwater and greywater recycling systems, natural lighting and ventilation, and an extensive geothermal system – and it will be located just steps away from one of the West Coast’s tallest skyscrapers. Inhabitat recently had a chance to take a behind-the-scenes look at this historic project – so put on your hard hat and hit the jump! Read the rest of Transbay Center: San Francisco is Building the Future of Public Transportation Beneath a 5.4-Acre Rooftop Park Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: geothermal , grand central station of the west coast , Green Building , green roof , LEED gold , public transportation , rainwater recycling , Recycled Materials , rooftop park , San Francisco , Sustainable Building , tallest skyscraper , tjpa , transbay terminal , Transbay Transit Center , transit center

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Transbay Center: San Francisco is Building the Future of Public Transportation Beneath a 5.4-Acre Rooftop Park

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