A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

September 11, 2020 by  
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Local practice Salem Architecture has recently renovated the Maison Ave Courcelette, a stately, midcentury home with an improved indoor/outdoor connection in the heart of Montreal. Originally constructed in 1947, the house was built with beautiful attention to detail and sculptural, rounded openings — elements that both the architect, Jad Salem, and the owner wanted to preserve and highlight. The resulting transformation achieves those goals while generously opening up the interior to the large exterior courtyard and bringing an abundance of natural light indoors. Located in the residential borough of Outremont, the Maison Ave Courcelette project connects to a large backyard and is surrounded by many mature trees around the perimeter of the site. To improve the relationship between the home and the outdoors, the architects opened up the rear, south-facing facade with large sliding glass doors. The stones of the facade that were replaced by the new glazing were kept for use in a possible house extension. The new cladding on a portion of the rear facade is made up of vertically oriented timber elements that complement the original stone of the house and serve as an openwork sidewall for privacy from the neighbors while allowing natural light to filter through. Related: Transformed midcentury modern home focuses on sustainability To protect the house from unwanted solar gain in the south, the architects created covered outdoor terraces as well as a retractable canopy for comfortable use of an entertaining space with a sunken seating area and a fire pit next to the pool. “The landscaping, in separate areas, offers owners the opportunity to enjoy the backyard while having a variety of experiences and atmospheres,” the architects noted. New windows have also been added to other parts of the home to bring in additional daylight. Inside, original midcentury building elements have been elegantly enhanced. The architects added new arched openings that follow the configurations of the existing arched windows to elevate the sculptural feel of the home. The railing of the central curved staircase — a major focal point — has been kept minimal so as not to detract attention from the staircase’s sculptural shape and the rounded openings in the ceilings. The original wood floor has also been maintained in some rooms while materials for the new floors were carefully selected to complement existing finishes. + Salem Architecture Photography by Phil Bernard via Salem Architecture

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A midcentury home receives a sensitive renovation in Montreal

FaulknerBrowns Architects proposes to reinvigorate a Victorian villa

August 25, 2020 by  
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International architectural practice FaulknerBrowns Architects has submitted a proposal to England’s Newcastle City Council for sensitively preserving the Ashfield Towers — a magnificent, Victorian villa — by transforming the grounds into a contemporary residential development. Located in the affluent Gosforth district in Newcastle upon Tyne, FaulknerBrowns’ Ashfield Towers proposal calls for a mix of residential typologies housed within the restored Victorian villa along with a renovated late 19th century coach house and new, contemporary buildings. Originally built as a private residence, Ashfield Towers has been previously adapted into a workplace and most recently as the school building for the Westfield School for Girls. In 2018, Union Property purchased the 1.4 acre site to allow the school to consolidate its estate to its senior site. The Westfield School for Girls bid farewell to Ashfield Towers in the summer of 2019. Related: This tiny Victorian cottage on a wildflower meadow belongs in a fairytale Working closely with the local planning authority as well as conservation , landscape and urban design officers, FaulknerBrowns created a site-sensitive proposal that includes seven apartments within the Victorian villa, a single dwelling inside the renovated, late 19th century coach house and three new homes and three new apartments in the contemporary new buildings. The new construction would feature pre-cast concrete elements and hand-molded bricks to complement the mix of existing honed and chiseled stone, while the new color palette of light blue and peach tones take cues from the conservation area and complement the existing yellow sandstone of the original buildings. “Ashfield Towers has given us a fantastic opportunity to revive a beautiful piece of Gosforth’s heritage, returning the site to its original, residential use,” explained Jane Redmond, associate at FaulknerBrowns. “The rich context of the conservation area continues through to the proposed shared gardens while the new architectural elements are inspired by the language of their Victorian neighbour, but with a restrained form and simple material palette that brings forward a varied mix of elegant new homes.” + FaulknerBrowns Architects Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects

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FaulknerBrowns Architects proposes to reinvigorate a Victorian villa

Sustainability career options you may not have considered

January 30, 2020 by  
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In the past 10 to 20 years, careers in sustainability have grown exponentially. This is partly due to increased awareness of climate change. It’s also a result of innovation in the field; for example, the use of wind turbines and solar panels create jobs that didn’t exist before. Looking into the future, more and more jobs will fall into the category of sustainability. Many industries will face stricter resource management, opening the door to an endless number of earth-focused jobs — including some that don’t even exist yet! If you’ve considered a career in sustainability, here are some green jobs you might want to look into. Engineer There are hundreds of types of engineering degrees and titles, with myriad job opportunities in sustainability. Wind, water and solar engineers study and develop those technologies while product, systems and mechanical engineers can also find ways for business and manufacturing to be more eco-friendly. Engineers focused on urban design can influence the infrastructure of an entire city, and structural engineers can work to design buildings with earth-friendly materials and passive energy systems. Then there are environmental, water, renewable energy and even recycling engineers, too. Solar, wind or water specialists Even if you’re not interested in becoming an energy engineer, there are many job opportunities relating to renewable energy. You can install solar panels or wind turbines. If you’re a mechanical type, you can work as a repair technician. Or, you could contribute to research and development for new systems. Another option is to educate others about renewable energy or work in product and system sales. Related: Former coal miners receive training for renewable energy jobs Organic farmer As the population of the planet continues to grow, food production is a central focus for many. But artificial, preservative-filled foods are a poor solution for feeding the masses. If you enjoy a hard day’s work and the satisfaction of literally seeing the fruits of your labor, working as an organic farmer might be for you. Energy broker As more and more clean systems become available to produce energy, we will continue to need ways to store, transport and use it. As a broker, you can facilitate this process by buying and selling renewable energy for clients. Green construction workers Opportunities for construction planning and work at the residential and commercial levels mean you can take part in helping to build more sustainable structures. Modern construction practices involve the use of energy-conserving HVAC systems, smart home technology , energy-efficient windows, improved insulation, non-toxic paints, water reclamation, solar panels and so much more. Jobs include construction worker, site manager, structural engineer, systems design engineer, architect, HVAC installer, technician or floor covering specialist. Electric car mechanic The number of electric cars on the road continues to rise, making a job as an electric car mechanic a promising career choice for the future. In this position, you can perform repairs or even convert gas-guzzling vehicles into electric ones. Teacher or public speaker Education is a powerful tool in the drive to inspire people to change their habits or get involved in a cause. As a teacher or public speaker, you can inform attendees in classrooms, offices and conference centers about important topics like climate change . This will allow you to educate the public about the needs of the environment and steps they can take as individuals or businesses to lower their ecological footprints. Writer There has always been power in words, but if public speaking isn’t your thing, perhaps you can express the same information through the written word instead. For example, you can work as a journalist researching companies who pollute or, on the other end of the spectrum, go out of their way to support environmental causes. There are also opportunities to create content on social media, formulating social media campaigns that create awareness about environmental topics. Consultant Depending on your background, you might not need to obtain additional education in order to work in an industry related to sustainability. As a consultant, you can use your existing knowledge to advise businesses. For example, if you have experience as a contractor, architect or engineer, you can help businesses identify eco-friendly materials or systems during construction or a remodel. Green jobs will continue to evolve and offer new challenges, but one thing is for certain — they are here to stay. Images via Shutterstock

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Sustainability career options you may not have considered

Mixed-use complex aims to minimize heat gain with greenery in Saudi Arabia

August 26, 2019 by  
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In a bid to keep the notorious heat of Saudi Arabia at bay, Istanbul- and London-based architectural firm Avci Architects has created an upscale, mixed-use complex in the coastal city of Al Khobar that is carefully oriented to maximize natural cooling. In addition to careful site placement and building massing, the architects will add shading elements and an abundance of greenery to create a cool microclimate to encourage use of outdoor space and community building. The project, which has yet to be built, was recently selected as the 2019 Architizer A+ Awards Popular Choice Winner in the Residential Multi-Unit Housing category. Covering an area of approximately 60,000 square meters, the Al Khobar mixed-use development will offer a mix of housing, office space, a hotel, retail space and restaurants as well as a mosque. To protect the privacy of the residential areas, the architects have oriented the openings of the offices to face away from the residences and added pergolas or mashrabiya — decorative enclosed balconies common in Islamic architecture — to shield views with the added benefit of mitigating unwanted solar heat gain . Related: A Mumbai industrial complex becomes a modern, mixed-use campus “The facades are layered in shading elements that are designed appropriately to the orientation of the buildings in relation to the sun,” the architects explained. “Our approach would be to create a massing and facade articulation that becomes reminiscent of old Islamic cities, where a sense of community is created between neighbors by allowing them the opportunity to interact through some of the adjacencies of such articulated spaces at higher levels in the buildings.” The outdoor spaces have also been sheltered from the heat with shade elements, landscaping and evaporative pools so that residents and the public can comfortably enjoy the outdoors for most of the year, barring the most intense summer months. + Avci Architects Images via Avci Architects

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Mixed-use complex aims to minimize heat gain with greenery in Saudi Arabia

Next year, resilience will become the new normal

December 29, 2017 by  
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The riskiest 20 percent of U.S. counties are economic powerhouses. Having valuable property that is not resilient and in the path of disaster is unsustainable.

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Next year, resilience will become the new normal

Overheard in sustainability: The funniest moments in 2017

December 29, 2017 by  
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These stories illuminate the lighter side of a flood of bad news about record emissions levels, political inaction and lapses in corporate responsibility.

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Overheard in sustainability: The funniest moments in 2017

Snhetta unveils striking new skyscraper for Manhattans Upper West Side

November 29, 2017 by  
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Snøhetta has unveiled a handsome skyscraper for Manhattan’s prestigious Upper West Side at 50 West 66th Street. Undeniably modern yet sensitive to its historic context, the striking mixed-use tower will soar to a height of 775 feet with 125 residential units. The chamfered form, cut into an angular shape, is “evocative of the chiseled stone of Manhattan’s geologic legacy,” say the architects. Snøhetta’s skyscraper comprises luxury residences stacked on top a mixed-use podium. The residential entrance will be located on 65th Street, while the entrance to a synagogue will be located on 66th. A large terrace is placed atop the podium on the 16th floor, where the building’s residential slab is set back from the multilevel outdoor plaza. The lushly planted terrace will offer views of the Hudson River, Central Park, and the city. Related: Times Square now has double the public space The architects carved away the skyscraper to create a dynamic form with a chiseled crown. Handset and textured limestone , bronze, and glass clad the building. Construction is slated to begin in Spring 2018. + Snøhetta Via ArchDaily Images by Snøhetta and Binyan Studios

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Snhetta unveils striking new skyscraper for Manhattans Upper West Side

Carbon-neutral Caring Wood wins RIBA award for best new house in the UK

November 29, 2017 by  
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A modern, carbon-neutral take on the traditional English country house in Kent has won the Royal Institution of British Architects’ House of the Year award . Designed by James MacDonald Wright and Niall Maxwell , the rural dwelling called Caring Wood was praised for its eco-friendly design and multigenerational design—properties that RIBA president Ben Derbyshire believes are among the many ideas displayed at Caring Wood that will “influence UK housing for many years to come.” Designed for three generations of the same family, Caring Wood sports an eye-catching form with four tilting towers that take inspiration from traditional oast houses, agricultural buildings used for kilning hops. This unusual design that pays homage to the local vernacular is what granted it planning permission in the National Planning Policy Framework, which recognized it early on for its “outstanding architectural quality.” Locally sourced materials and craft traditions were used in construction, including handmade peg tiles, locally quarried ragstone, and coppiced chestnut shingles. The sculptural project also gives back to the landscape with 25,000 trees planted on the 84-acre estate. Low energy design principles maximize natural ventilation, daylighting, and passive stack ventilation , while clean green technologies are also incorporated and include solar panels, EV charging, and ground source heat pumps. Related: Solar-powered English country house offsets all its CO2 emissions “Beyond the impression of sublime craftsmanship and spatial grandeur this house offers, Caring Wood leads us to fundamentally question how we might live together in the future,” said RIBA House of the Year 2017 jury chair, Deborah Saunt. “At a time when we are increasingly atomised, individually preoccupied and lost in personalised digital worlds, designing homes where families come together – in their many permutations – is an increasingly important aim. Whilst this might seem to be a particular brief for one extended family, it is one taking huge risks in asking how we collectively might live inter-generationally as social structures evolve.” + MacDonald Wright Architects Via ArchDaily Images © James Morris

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Carbon-neutral Caring Wood wins RIBA award for best new house in the UK

How Canada’s dairy capital became a ‘change agent’ for renewables

June 22, 2017 by  
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A small agricultural city is jumping at the chance to lead the way on sustainability.

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How Canada’s dairy capital became a ‘change agent’ for renewables

A leap ahead for energy efficient homes Down Under

January 24, 2017 by  
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How Australia’s widespread adoption of Energy Scores holds important lessons for the U.S. residential housing market.

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A leap ahead for energy efficient homes Down Under

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