A Mumbai industrial complex becomes a modern, mixed-use campus

May 29, 2019 by  
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In the Mumbai suburb of Vikhroli, Indian architectural firm Studio Lotus and GPL Design Studio have given a disused industrial complex new life as a modern, mixed-use center. Dubbed the Imagine Studio, the project serves as an experience center for ‘The Trees,’ a flagship adaptive reuse project for Godrej Properties Ltd. Imagine Studio provides new public and private functions while celebrating the site’s industrial heritage. Located on a one-acre site, the Imagine Studio complex spans 10,763 square feet and comprises a small cluster of renovated industrial buildings. The programming includes a marketing office, sample showcase flats for ‘The Trees,’ meeting spaces, an all-day cafe located within a repurposed Boiler Plant, a multipurpose gallery for cultural events and several outdoor spaces to market the client’s upcoming residential and commercial development properties. The public is also invited to experience the multifunctional space. “The intent was to illustrate an invigorated public realm as a microcosm of the [Trees’] master plan while preserving the essence of the site’s industrial heritage,” the architects said. “Existing buildings and its elements were recycled not only to underline their relevance in the bygone eras but also add meaning as important design punctuations in the narrative. The buzzing public spaces will eventually extend the edge of the gated development to include the community and city in its activities. Buildings of the Imagine Studio will ultimately get absorbed into the commercial hub of the development; continuing to stay on as key markers celebrating the rich traditions of the historic company while taking it strategically forward into its future.” Related: Architects to transform two old railway yards into eco parks in Milan The Imagine Studio is defined with an industrially inspired palette that includes concrete, Corten steel , brass and timber combined to follow the Japanese principles of “wabi sabi,” or a view of beauty in imperfection. The materials are deliberately left unfinished so as to develop a patina over time. Elements from the old buildings were also salvaged and reused, such as the old louvers of the primary industrial plant that were repurposed, coated in Corten steel and perforated with patterns. + Studio Lotus Images via Edmund Sumner, Dilip Bhatia, Studio Lotus, GPL Design Studio

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A Mumbai industrial complex becomes a modern, mixed-use campus

The Sparkle Paper Saver Notebook teaches kids about recycled paper and sustainable living

May 14, 2019 by  
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Australian-based company Paper Saver has been using its products to help recycle paper since 2015. Its original Paper Saver notebook has a plastic sleeve inside, where leftover scratch paper can be inserted and used as pages. When the pages are full, the paper can be easily taken out, recycled and replaced with new pieces. It’s an innovative idea that has since allowed tens of thousands of people alike reduce their paper waste, according to the site. Now, the company is supplementing its sleek, faux-leather notebook with a brightly-colored kids edition called the Sparkle Paper Saver, launched on Kickstarter in May 2019. Using the blank back sides of their used craft paper (or any other kind of paper), kids can make and re-make their own notebooks. Here’s how it works: 1. Collect a pile of the used papers (old printouts from work, spreadsheets, drafts, bills, itineraries, used coloring and activity sheets, school notices — the list is endless!). 2. Fold the papers in half. 3. Insert papers through the functionally-designed binder, which is made of spring steel to ease the paper insertion, yet durable and strong enough to secure all the paper. Related: Recycling can get kids free books in Southern Italy It’s an interactive way for kids to learn about recycling and reusing while inspiring their creativity at the same time. Along with the notebook, supporters of the Kickstarter campaign will also receive three Environmental Awareness Woven Stickers to decorate with, each designed with images conveying a different environmental message: a melting ice cream cone for climate change , a solar daisy for renewable energy and fish in a bottle for ocean pollution. The package also includes The Paper Saver Organizer, which can be inserted into the notebook binder and includes a pencil case, cardholders and a pocket. Apart from finding new ways to recycle, Paper Saver’s goal with the new kids’ edition is to expose children at a younger age to the state of our environment while giving them tools to make less wasteful choices. Hopefully, that will translate into more sustainable decisions as they grow up and become active members of society, because it arms them with the knowledge to apply what they learned with Paper Saver’s fun notebook to other aspects of life. + Paper Saver Images via Paper Saver

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The Sparkle Paper Saver Notebook teaches kids about recycled paper and sustainable living

Second Nature transforms abandoned fishing nets into 3D-printed seashells and bowls

May 2, 2019 by  
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Did you know that ghost nets are considered among the deadliest ocean debris in the world? The term refers not to haunting specters in the water, but discarded synthetic fishing nets that pollute the seabed and trap fish, mammals and other sea creatures. To raise awareness about these abandoned fishing nets and marine plastic pollution, Rotterdam-based research and design studio The New Raw has launched a new initiative called Second Nature that’s transforming the deadly ghost nets into 3D-printed seashells, bowls and other beautiful objects. The Second Nature project begins with the collection and sorting of the ghost gear depending on material type: nets, ropes, floaters or weights. The plastic waste is then processed in a grinder to create colorful and textured filament for the  3D printing projects. Second Nature currently operates out of a mobile lab located in the small Greek village of Galaxidi. Related: Ghost gear is haunting our oceans “ Plastic is a major contributor to the pollution of the seas,” said Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, founders of The New Raw. “However, living in urban regions, we tend to forget about our dependence on the sea, which is crucial to our food and oxygen supply. With Second Nature, we want to give plastic a second life.” The project also draws inspiration from five edible species of Mediterranean seashells — Mitra Zonata, Pecten Jacobeaus, Pinna Nobilis, Strombus Persicus and Tonna Galea — that are currently protected due to their intensive fishing. In giving the ghost nets a second life, Second Nature has created shell-shaped ornaments as well as a series of colorful tableware as part of its ongoing research project promoting a circular economy . The team plans to launch a new collection of objects in summer 2019 and have documented their process in a 10-minute short film by award-winning filmmaker Daphne Matziaraki, viewable here . + The New Raw Images via The New Raw

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Second Nature transforms abandoned fishing nets into 3D-printed seashells and bowls

Mud and recycled materials make up this sustainable Kerala home

April 30, 2019 by  
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When Ramanujan Basha decided to build a modern, eco-friendly home in Kerala, he turned to Wallmakers , a local design practice with a decade’s worth of experience designing sustainable architecture. Unlike its more conventional neighbors, the house, dubbed Chirath, is built primarily of mud, recycled elements and natural materials . Passive solar principles were also applied to the design to let in light and much-needed natural ventilation for relief from Kerala’s tropical climate. In addition to wanting a sustainable home, the client told the architects that he wanted to steer clear of the traditional Kerala home system. To combat the heat and the monsoon rain, most conventional homes feature sloped roofs with thick overhangs that protect against the elements but also lead to an undesirably dark interior. Moreover, the client felt that the traditional architectural systems’ delineation of space promoted gender inequality. “Thus during the early days of the project, the client had made a point that the house should be a symbol of a new light, or a new outlook to our age-old systems and beliefs,” the architects said. “‘Chirath,’ which denotes a traditional lamp in Malayalam, is the name given by Mr. Ramanujan Basha for his house at Pala, Kerala. The client thus asked for a solution by throwing away the bad and utilizing the good. We decided to break the roof, split it open and let the light flow in, all while using waste and mud to build the house. This is the concept of Chirath.” Related: Solar-powered home stays naturally cool in Kerala’s tropical heat Clad in locally sourced earth, Chirath’s structural walls were constructed with a mix of cement, soil and recycled coarse aggregate for strength, while ferrocement was used for the roof and partition walls. Other recycled materials include waste wood repurposed to make furnishings, such as the beds and kitchen cabinets, as well as unwanted steel given new life as beautiful window grills and ventilators. Locally sourced tiles were assembled into the terracotta tile jali that lets in cooling breezes and light. For added passive cooling, the architects installed a pool in the living area that connects to a rainwater harvesting tank, which collects runoff for reuse in the home. + Wallmakers Photography by Anand Jaju, Jino and Midhu via Wallmakers

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A massive, egg-shaped bird observatory features reusable natural materials

April 25, 2019 by  
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Bird lovers in the Netherlands now have a new way of watching their feathered friends thanks to the recent opening of the Tij, a massive wooden bird observatory created with sustainability in mind. Designed by Amsterdam-based RAU Architects in collaboration with Ro&Ad Architects , the unique bird blind is in the shape of an egg in a nod to the thousands of large terns that nest nearby. To reduce environmental impact, the architects constructed the observatory primarily out of wood with modular construction so that the structure can be taken apart, moved and rebuilt in a different location. Opened this month, the Tij is part of the Droomfonds Haringvliet, a project started by six nature organizations and supported by the Droomfonds of the National Postcode Lottery to conserve and bring recreational opportunities to the Haringvliet, a large inlet of the North Sea in South Holland . The Tij was strategically located at the water’s edge to overlook spectacular nature views and the rich bird life, including the terns’ nesting grounds on the small islands off the coast of Scheelhoek. “Thanks to its complete rebuilding capabilities, modularity and materialization, it fully meets all the key points for a sustainable structure with circular potential,” explained Thomas Rau, chief architect of Tij, which was named in reference to the tide and the egg-shaped design. “By building everything in such a way that everything can be taken apart without losing any of its value, we ensure that the strain on the ecosystem is minimal. The shape of the observatory is extra special, mimicking the egg of the large tern. Nature itself produced this shape.” Related: IKEA teams up with London artists to upcycle old furniture into funky abodes for birds, bees and bats The parametrically designed bird observatory is built mainly of natural materials . The large wood panels are made by a file-to-factory Zollinger construction while the slim poles are chestnut. The facade is covered with local reeds sourced from the Scheelhoek nature reserve and pre-used bulkheads were repurposed into the tunnel to the observatory. In case of rising water levels, the lower portion of the bird observatory can be safely submerged under water without sustaining damage; the bottom part of the “egg” is built of Accoya wooden beams and the floor is made from wood and concrete. + RAU Architects Photography by Katja Effting via RAU Architects

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A massive, egg-shaped bird observatory features reusable natural materials

A 1920s cottage gets a new lease on life as an urban barnyard house

April 12, 2019 by  
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When a family of four outgrew their 1920s cottage in Melbourne and were about to embark on an extensive renovation, they asked Australian design studio Inbetween Architecture for a second opinion on the blueprints. Impressed by the consultation, the clients ended up scrapping their plans and instead put their faith in Inbetween Architecture to lead the redesign, one which would be more sensitive to the family’s lifestyle — and their chickens and honey bees. Affectionately called the “Urban Barnyard House,” the renovated and expanded residence combines rustic influences with contemporary elements into a comfortable home for the family and their beloved animals. Before expanding the original house, a two-bedroom Edwardian weatherboard cottage, the architects first sat down with the family to understand their daily routines and needs so as to create a responsive and flexible design solution. The clients’ answers informed the layout of the Urban Barnyard House. For example, the kitchen is placed in the heart of the home and the dining area is located to the east to take advantage of morning light as well as the embrace of indoor-outdoor living . The existing building was reconfigured to house three bedrooms and a new entry hall while the communal areas were relocated to the new rear extension. To minimize the time the family had to spend outside the home during renovation and construction, the architects built the extension with simple construction and a truss roof and also added a small “link” space that serves as a transition zone from the existing structure to the new building. An outdoor deck was inserted between the new extension and an existing timber shed in the south side of the property. Large windows and a natural materials palette tie the house to the landscape, which includes a productive urban backyard for beekeeping and raising chickens. Related: Modern farmhouse-inspired dwelling in Melbourne is largely self-sufficient “Free and easy indoor-outdoor living (and a productive urban backyard!) suggested that while the home needed to be robust, there was an element of playfulness that could be accommodated,” said the architects, who designed the home with humans and animals in mind. “The contemporary extension sits comfortably within its more traditional context. Sentimental elements of the original house, such as the fireplace bricks, solid timber paneled doors and a stained glass window, were salvaged and reused in new locations.” + Inbetween Architecture Via ArchDaily Photography by Nic Granleese via Inbetween Architecture

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A 1920s cottage gets a new lease on life as an urban barnyard house

Vegan shoes from Insecta are a stylish option for eco-friendly footwear

April 8, 2019 by  
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Brazilian company Insecta is defying the stereotype that eco-friendly fashion can’t be stylish with its line of “ecosexy” vegan shoes. In addition to being completely void of animal-derived materials, the company also uses sustainable materials like recycled rubber and recycled plastic to construct its footwear. Insecta has been around since 2014 in Brazil, but the company recently announced it will be making an expansion into the United States. In addition to its flagship stores in Porto Alegre and São Paulo, Brazil, the company is conducting an international launch with a new distribution center in April 2019. The new distribution center, located in North America, will help Insecta distribute shoes to even more customers. Related: VEJA unveils vegan sneakers made from corn waste The shoes are handcrafted from materials like recycled bottles, recycled cotton, recycled rubber, upcycled vintage clothing and reusable fabrics. According to the company, it has recycled more than 6,000 plastic bottles and almost 400 square meters of upcycled fabrics in the past year alone.  Nothing is wasted, even when it comes to already-recycled materials. For example, the “Beetle” shoe design uses recycled plastic for its toe caps, and the cushioned insoles are made from recycled rubber and fabric scraps from the company’s own production. One dress has the ability to produce five pairs of Insecta shoes. All of the vegan shoes are comfortable flats sized from 35 to 47 European — or sizes 4 to 14 in U.S. sizes, meaning almost everyone will be able to find a shoe in their proper size. Don’t worry if you’re unsure about European sizes, because the website offers a handy sizing table to help you pick the perfect fit. There are eight different styles to choose from, ranging from boots to sandals, and they’re all creative and stylish. There are classic, natural colors available, like beige and charcoal, but also bright prints for those looking to make more of a statement. What’s more, all of Insecta’s shoes are unisex. Insecta strives to “pollinate the world with color and mindful awareness,” according to the website . The company believes that no living thing should be sacrificed in the name of fashion or other aesthetic purpose. + Insecta Images via Insecta

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Vegan shoes from Insecta are a stylish option for eco-friendly footwear

Inhabitat Interview with Beth Cosmos, owner of Billygoats & Raincoats

April 5, 2019 by  
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In 2016, Beth Cosmos was fresh out of design school at the University of South Wales and volunteering at several music festivals. Eager to see the hundreds of thousands of displaced tents left after music festivals in her native U.K., Cosmos decided to combine her love of sustainability and fashion . The lightbulb moment came when she woke up to what seemed like an endless ocean of abandoned tents left behind by festival-goers at a venue. The tents were made of a good material: sturdy, waterproof and sadly destined for a landfill where it would never fully decompose. Armed with an idea, she took a few of the tents home to turn into clothes. Fast forward to 2019, and Billygoats & Raincoats is now Cosmos’ full-time job. We talked to Cosmos about her passion project and what’s next for the brand. Inhabitat: “Have you always been passionate about sustainability?” Cosmos: “Most definitely, I was that uni housemate who reinforced what exactly could be recycled or not and in which bags … super fun housemate, right?” Inhabitat: “You initially got the idea for Billygoats & Raincoats after noticing leftover tents at a festival. Were you looking for a project at the time?” Cosmos: “It’s an incredibly wasteful and upsetting sight to see. I was already designing children’s raincoats and seeking out the most sustainable options fabric -wise. The realization of the scale of waste and need for an alternative to using new fabrics came together perfectly, really.” Related: Housing pods made of recycled plastic offer an alternative to festival tent waste Inhabitat: “Tell us about your company’s zero-waste initiative. How do you use each part of the tent?” Cosmos: “All the best parts, nicest weight and condition fabrics are used for the kids coats. I tend to use all the primary colors first, smaller panels of the good stuff go to the tote bags. If there are any pieces with marks, I use them in reverse for the linings of the bags. Blacks, grays and darker colors are being saved for my big kid, AKA adult’s wear, range. I have designed the range and will be launching a Kickstarter very soon to help fund that collection, so keep a look out on our Instagram for a heads up on when that’s going to be launched. There will be opportunities to win lots of goodies, like kids coats, one-offs and custom adult coats. I use all the fly nets for pouches on bags and lining on pockets, and they will be used as a large part of the lining in the big kid range. Guy lines have a few uses, namely pocket hooks and ties on packaging and will be getting used a lot more in the future as handy hooks. I use the ground sheets for packaging , and everything else gets cleaned and stored until I think of something to do with it. There is a lot of hauling going on.” Inhabitat: “Any plans for repurposing the coats once children grow out of them?” Cosmos: “The coats are made to a very high standard and designed to fit children for more than a year; once one cool kid grows out of the coat, it would be great to see the coat handed down. The coats can be sent back to us at the end of their life. We will offer 50 percent off the next purchase, and we will reuse the salvageable fabric.” Inhabitat: “How do you make the coats breathable with such a notoriously durable material? Do the coats get ‘muggy’ or ‘clammy’ at all?” Cosmos: “The coats are a very loose fitting, boxy shape that allows children to move freely in, and they are designed to be worn layered up.” Inhabitat: “Are you working with any festival companies directly?” Cosmos: “We will be working with and recovering tents from Glastonbury, Boomtown and Camp Bestival this year. We hope to be working very closely with them this time next year. We’re planning very exciting collaborations.” Inhabitat: “What’s next for Billygoats and Raincoats?” Cosmos: “To take over the world of rainwear, of course!” To check out Billygoats & Raincoats, head to its  website or Instagram page . + Billygoats & Raincoats Images via Billygoats & Raincoats

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Inhabitat Interview with Beth Cosmos, owner of Billygoats & Raincoats

Green-roofed timber dwelling in Austria is built with recycled materials

March 19, 2019 by  
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In the historic Austrian village of Purkersdorf, Vienna-based architectural practice Juri Troy Architects has completed the L House, a timber home named after its L-shaped form integrated with sustainable design elements. Built with numerous recycled materials, the house forms a strong connection with nature from its green roof to its large windows that sweep views of the bucolic outdoors in. Nestled into a southern slope above the village of Purkersdorf, the 3,450-square-foot L House boasts striking views of the Vienna woods. Despite its corner lot location, the home’s elevated position affords it privacy; the lower level of the two-story home is obscured from view. As a result, most of the bedrooms are located on the ground floor, where they open up to a south-facing outdoor terrace . The cantilevered upper volume primarily consists of the living spaces, including an open-plan dining area, kitchen and living room that open up to a covered outdoor terrace. The parking pad and main entrance are also on this level as is a bedroom suite. To take advantage of views, floor-to-ceiling glazing opens the open-plan living areas up to the outdoors on two sides. To the south is the public-facing terrace, while the more private outdoor spaces—a courtyard and terrace with a natural pool—are tucked into the hillside. In addition to the use of white fir for cladding the upper volume, the architects also lined the interior walls and ceilings with white fir and built the doors and furnishings out of the same material. Related: A massive gabled roof protects this minimalist timber home from the snow As part of L House’s sustainability-focused design, the architects also used numerous recycled materials and topped part of the building with a green roof that buffers rainfall and improves roof insulation. Deep roof overhangs mitigate unwanted solar heat gain while large operable glazing lets in an abundance of natural light and natural ventilation. + Juri Troy Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Juri Troy

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Green-roofed timber dwelling in Austria is built with recycled materials

Solar-powered home puts an eco-friendly twist on the farmhouse vernacular

March 14, 2019 by  
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When architect Paul O’Reilly of the Australian architectural practice archterra was asked by his mother to design a modern farmhouse, he delivered a handsome dwelling that not only takes inspiration from traditional barn architecture, but also deftly addresses the region’s climatic extremes with its site-specific, energy-efficient build. Aptly named the Farm House, the roughly 2,000-square-foot abode features a gabled roofline, a veranda and timber cladding to mimic traditional barns, while the interior is decidedly contemporary and dressed in natural materials, including rammed earth and oiled timber cladding. Moreover, the home is energy-efficient , taking cues from passive solar principles and drawing power from a 2.5-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array. Located on a grassy paddock on a working cattle farm near Margaret River, the Farm House is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom abode that places the sleeping areas toward the south and the open-plan living areas to the north. Large outdoor decks open off of the two bedrooms and the living area toward the east. “Primary outlook across paddocks to the east and a need to maintain a passive solar orientation to the north generated a T-shaped plan response with the living pavilion orientated to the north, whilst the sleeping areas align east-west,” explained the architecture firm. “Morning sun is moderated on the sleeping pavilion by the traditional veranda to the east whilst a thick rammed earth wall to the west ensures the thermal lag effect of the earth wall keeps internal spaces cool into the early evening.” Related: Solar-powered Bush House exemplifies chic eco-friendly living in the Australian outback The home’s passive solar orientation mitigates unwanted heat gain and permits cooling cross breezes to flow through the home from all directions. In addition to the thermally efficient envelope, the energy efficiency of the Farm House is bolstered by the addition of an evacuated tube solar hot water heater, a solar photovoltaic array, rainwater collection  and wastewater treatment systems. Recycled timber and bricks lower the embodied energy of the project as well. + archterra Photography by Douglas Mark Black via archterra

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