Wood lattice walls ventilate this beautiful Costa Rica home

July 10, 2020 by  
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Perched in the mountains of Nosara, a surfing paradise on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica , Casa Guayacán boasts a beautiful ocean view and a tranquil setting. A stunning example of sustainable architecture in a tropical setting, this home being designed by two talented professional architects comes as no surprise. Evangelina Quesada and Lucca Spendlingwimmer, architects who moved to the remote mountain location with their two daughters, built the home based on their mutual love for contemporary tropical architecture. The home takes advantage of the ocean breeze with ventilating lattice walls and is equipped with a rooftop solar panel system that provides 100% battery autonomy throughout the day and night. Related: Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool The facade incorporates a design that combines spacious floor-to-ceiling windows and wood lattice walls for natural cross ventilation . Elongated from north to south, most of the space faces the sea, with the west side facing the sunset in the evening. Half-open wood slats help emphasize airflow, while also creating a unique light pattern that changes during different times of the day. To move the house as far from the public street as possible and address the site’s uneven terrain, the design was developed over two levels. A shorter lower level allows for entrance access below the main structure, room for parking, a studio and service area. The upper level contains common areas, bedrooms and the property’s best ocean views. The home’s modular floor plan allowed for a faster construction time and less material waste. The home uses materials such as stone, polished cement, metal, wood and glass. The wood , taken from controlled teak plantations, was treated with linseed oil to maintain natural texture and color. Incorporating traditional building methods and talent from local artisans in the woodwork helps make Casa Guayacán a captivating addition to the tropical Costa Rican foothills. + Salagnac Arquitectos Images via Salagnac Arquitectos

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Wood lattice walls ventilate this beautiful Costa Rica home

A puzzle-inspired sliding facade improves this buildings energy efficiency

June 12, 2020 by  
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In the Ballard neighborhood, close to Seattle’s downtown, local architecture firm Graham Baba Architects has completed the Klotski, a mixed-use infill building that emphasizes energy efficiency . Named after the sliding block puzzle that inspired its southern facade, the building uses a mix of high- and low-tech strategies to minimize energy use, including rooftop solar panels, radiant heating, operable windows and sliding metal sunshades. The Klotski is also equipped with rainwater cisterns that collect and recycle rainwater. Graham Baba Architects designed the Klotski to reflect the eclectic and industrial roots of the Ballard neighborhood. Built from concrete masonry units and a steel frame, the 10,041-square-foot building features an open floor-plan, exposed structural beams and tall ceilings for a loft-like, industrial feel. The three-story, mixed-use building houses the Trailbend Taproom beer hall on the ground floor, office space on the second floor, a maker space on a self-contained mezzanine level and a studio as well as a small caretaker’s apartment on the top floor. On-site covered parking is accessed off the alley. Related: Gensler upcycles an old warehouse into creative offices in Austin Designed to engage the street level, the building is set back from the property line by several feet to create space for outdoor dining while extensive glazing promotes transparency and connection to the community. Generous roof decks — such as the outdoor deck for the studio and apartment on the top floor — and an interior courtyard promote an indoor/ outdoor living experience throughout. Optimized for natural ventilation and daylight, the building features operable windows on the north and south sides. The Klotski-inspired sunshades on the south-facing exterior consist of 7-foot-by-10-foot perforated metal screens that slide up and down to respond to privacy and shading needs that change throughout the seasons. + Graham Baba Architects Photography by Kevin Scott via Graham Baba Architects

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A puzzle-inspired sliding facade improves this buildings energy efficiency

Czech Republics first 3D-printed floating home will take just 48 hours to build

June 12, 2020 by  
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The first 3D-printed house in Czech Republic is scheduled for completion by the end of June 2020. Not only will the project, called Prvok, only take about 48 hours to build, but this floating home will also set an example for innovative affordable housing solutions for the future. The project will be printed with partially self-sustaining green technology , including a re-circulation shower, a green roof and well reservoirs for water. It is a collaboration between sculptor Michal Trpak and building society Stavebni sporitelna Ceske sporitelny. Related: This clothing tech company is 3D-printing garments to help reduce waste Once completed, the home will have been built seven times faster than conventional houses, saving up to 50% of construction costs compared to a regular building, all while reducing construction waste and carbon emissions by about 20% along the way. It is printed using a highly advanced robotic arm that moves 15 centimeters per second. To create the structure, a specially developed concrete mixture enriched with nano-polypropylene fibers, plasticizers and a setting accelerator will flow through a tip in the robotic arm. While Prvok will have the ability to float via pontoon anchor, the house will also be designed to stand on land, suitable for long-term living in both the country and the city. The nearly 463-square-foot living space will feature three rooms in total: a bedroom, a bathroom and a combination living room/kitchen. The design renderings feature a substantial green roof as well as massive porthole windows, an exposed concrete exterior and wood plank flooring for a unique, nautical appearance. According to Trpak, future owners of the 3D-printed home will be able to crush the building once it has reached the end of its life and reprint it again using the recycled material at the same location, making it long-lasting as well as sustainable. Stavebni sporitelna Ceske sporitelny hopes that the Prvok home will demonstrate the possibilities for more accessible and affordable housing options throughout the Czech Republic. + Prvok Images via Prvok

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Czech Republics first 3D-printed floating home will take just 48 hours to build

Tropical greenery surrounds a sustainable, solar-powered home in Singapore

February 13, 2020 by  
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In Singapore, a lush veil of tropical plants has enveloped a sustainable home for a family of five. The house, aptly named “Fade to Green,” is the work of Singaporean design studio HYLA Architects , who was tapped to create a semi-detached home that was green in both design and spirit. In addition to its thriving tropical foliage, the house is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and rooftop solar panels to reduce the building’s environmental footprint. Located on a long and narrow lot, the Fade to Green house makes the most of its rectangular footprint by building upward and leaving space for a generous L-shaped garden that wraps around the front and side of the home. In contrast to its more traditional neighbors, the contemporary house is wrapped in a timber screen made from strips of Kebony — a treated timber product from Norway — selected for its ability to develop a natural gray patina over time. The spacing of the slats in the timber screen vary in size to either provide privacy or enough sunlight for plants to thrive. Related: Stunning solar-powered home in Singapore melds with adjacent botanic gardens “Sited within the tropical heritage surrounding of the botanic gardens , the house was designed with the narrative of nature and its relationship with architecture,” the architects explained. “Building around the inhabitant’s experience, the house blurs spatial boundaries to orchestrate light and environment into daily life. Contrary to resisting the elements of nature, the house pursues this idea of when the building stops, nature takes over.” Dense tropical foliage surrounds the building and provides privacy and a cooling microclimate. Nature is continuously referenced throughout the home, from the ground floor where the open-plan living and dining area seamlessly connects to the garden through sliding glass doors to the predominant use of timber and stone in the minimalist materials palette. The bedrooms — three on the second floor and the master suite on the top floor — are also set back to provide space for a continuous layer of landscaping that grows along the wraparound garden terrace. + HYLA Architects Images via Derek Swalwell via HYLA Architects

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Tropical greenery surrounds a sustainable, solar-powered home in Singapore

This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

November 8, 2018 by  
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East of the Hamptons sits a solar-powered, holiday home that celebrates indoor-outdoor living. Wrapped in exposed concrete and fire-resistant charred timber, the home — dubbed the Montauk House — is the work of Desai Chia Architects , a New York City-based design practice that created the two-story home (with a basement level) for a family with two children. The roof of the house also conceals a large photovoltaic array that harnesses enough energy to power the entire residence, while passive design principles were applied to reduce the overall energy footprint. Located on the tip of Long Island , the two-story Montauk House spans 4,600 square feet on a corner lot edged in with mature landscaping for privacy and shade. The architects located the main living areas and master suite on the upper level, which includes the combined living room, dining area and kitchen, two studies for the parents, a powder room and a master bedroom suite. The two children’s bedrooms and an additional guest bedroom are located on the ground floor along with a shared bathroom and the one-car garage. Walls of operable glass pull the outdoors in, while the open-plan layout facilitates clear sight lines across large sections of the dwelling. Indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with the addition of three outdoor terraces, each protected by deep overhangs to allow for relaxing and dining in the summertime. A ‘garden’ terrace links the ground-floor family room to the outdoors, and a ‘reading’ terrace spills out from the upstairs office spaces. The ‘breezeway’ terrace — the largest of the three — is a south-facing space that runs the length of the home and connects to the open-plan living, dining and kitchen area. Related: Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite In addition to rooftop solar panels, the home embraces green design with the use of low-maintenance materials. The rainscreen of wood was treated with the traditional Japanese process of shou sugi ban to develop resistance against rot, pests and fire. Ample glazing also illuminates the interior with natural light, while the cantilevered roof deflects unwanted solar heat gain. Natural ventilation has also been optimized. + Desai Chia Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Paul Warchol via Desai Chia Architects

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This holiday home in Montauk produces all of its own electricity

Mecanoo unveils winning designs for a solar-powered velodrome in Luxembourg

October 4, 2018 by  
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Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo and Luxembourg-based design practice Metaform Architects have placed first in an international design competition for the Mondorf-les-Bains Velodrome and Sports Complex in southeastern Luxembourg. The winning design was created to look like a natural extension of the landscape thanks to its engineered timber structure and sprawling, sloped green roof onto which a rounded velodrome is placed. Sustainable and passive solar principles also guided the design of the 24,500-square-meter complex, which optimizes natural light and is powered with solar energy. The Mondorf-les-Bains Velodrome and Sports Complex will be built among the rolling hills in the countryside of Luxembourg in a region known for its thermal baths. The 65 million-euro project will serve as a major sporting hub for the community and comprise a velodrome, aquatics center with indoor and outdoor facilities, two cafes, a multisports hall, a climbing wall and offices for the Luxembourgish Cycling Federation (FSCL). The pools and sports hall are designed to be embedded into the sloped landscape and topped with a green roof to visually reduce the size of the development and simultaneously draw attention to the elevated velodrome that will serve as a landmark structure visible from the neighboring highway. “The Velodrome, Multi-Sports and Swimming Pool Complex project is inspired by its surroundings, a subtly undulating topography,” the architects explained. “The main challenge was to integrate all three functions under one roof while paying respect to the context and at the same time to create the architectural landmark for the city of Mondorf-les-Bains.” Related: Mecanoo designs gorgeous green-roofed train station for Kaohsiung In addition to the massive green roof , wood and concrete finishes will be applied to further tie the building to the landscape. Strategically placed skylights and glazing will let in ample natural light while framing outdoor views. The dates for construction and completion have yet to be announced. + Mecanoo + Metaform Architects Images via Mecanoo

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Mecanoo unveils winning designs for a solar-powered velodrome in Luxembourg

This Swiss straw-bale house is completely self-sufficient

July 6, 2018 by  
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Traditional building techniques and modern technology come together in the House in Berne, a self-sufficient straw bale house in Graben, a Swiss village located less than an hour’s drive north of Bern. Trun-based architecture practice Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH designed the modern home, crafting it to blend in with the rural surroundings by taking on the appearance of an old Bernese farming house. Additionally, the self-sufficient house is powered entirely by rooftop solar panels. Completed this year, the House in Berne is set in the middle of a vast and open farming landscape. The dwelling comprises three floors in addition to a small basement for a total area of 1,970 square feet. In response to the client’s request for a modern, self-sustaining home that would be flooded with natural light , Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH designed a building with large yet carefully placed openings, as well as an energy-efficient envelope to ensure minimal heating energy demands that could be satisfied through a photovoltaic array or passive solar means. “Inside the house, glass ceilings ensure that daylight can penetrate fully into the whole building,” explains Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH in a project statement. “The reduction of inside walls allows the owners to live and work in a big open modern space. The 80 centimeter thick straw-bale walls guarantee minimal heat losses. The electrical and thermic energy gained on the solar roof is stored in a home battery system and in a 5000 [liter] solar tank located in the basement. If needed the house can be heated by the stored thermic energy.” Related: Leaky cottage retrofitted with straw bale sees 80% energy reduction Set on an east-west axis, House in Berne is built primarily from unfinished timber for both the interior and the exterior; the timber façade will develop a patina over time and further blend the building into the landscape. Solar panels top the roof, which features long overhanging eaves to protect the interior from unwanted solar heat gain . + Atelier SCHMIDT GmbH Images by Rasmus Norlander

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This Swiss straw-bale house is completely self-sufficient

Solar-powered National University of Singapore building will produce as much energy as it consumes

November 8, 2016 by  
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The six-story NZEB@SDE will be powered by 1,200 rooftop solar panels and feature a range of other green building designs, including a hybrid cooling approach, natural ventilation, and natural lighting . The contemporary building includes a large overhanging roof to shade the interior from the overbearing tropical sun, while its porous layout allows for cooling cross-breezes for a comfortable environment with minimal reliance on air conditioning. The large openings and balconies help connect the occupants with the outdoor landscape. Related: A tropical paradise grows inside this lush Singapore home “This project marks a new chapter in our School’s vision of learning, knowledge advancement and multidisciplinary collaboration,” said Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of NUS School of Design and Environment. “Many hours of discussion, design iterations and collaborative teamwork have gone into the design of NZEB@SDE, which will serve as a living laboratory to inspire our staff and students to explore innovative ideas as we continue to push the boundaries of sustainable design to build a green and resilient urban habitat for all to enjoy.” The net-zero energy building is slated for completion in early 2019. + Serie Architects + Multiply Architects Via Dezeen

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Solar-powered National University of Singapore building will produce as much energy as it consumes

Renovated Amsterdam office space features a rooftop of glittering aluminum "leaves"

October 3, 2016 by  
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Goede Doelen Loterijen’s 500 employees are currently scattered amongst fifteen different locations, but soon that will all change. The workers came together to assist in the design of their new building, which will take over a vacant structure in desperate need of a transformation. The renovation is expected to receive an “Outstanding” BREEAM rating , the highest available, for its commitment to sustainable functionality. Related: Benthem Crouwel Architects named designer of new Paris airport metro station Inside the building workers will have access to ample office space, a TV studio, public restaurant, and auditorium, most of which will also be open for public meetings and events. The true charm, however, lies in the unique exterior. An extra floor was added to create a uniform roof spanning across the entire building, as well as extending over the lush courtyard. Columns shaped like the surrounding trees support the roof and a pattern of 6,800 polished aluminum “leaves” give off a glittery luster similar to a swaying forest canopy. A total of 2,400 solar panels power the building and a rooftop rainwater collection system will be used for irrigating the building’s gardens. These features combine to create a structure both green in function and in its reverence for the surrounding environment. + Benthem Crouwel Architects Images via Benthem Crouwel Architects

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Renovated Amsterdam office space features a rooftop of glittering aluminum "leaves"

The company that offered integrated solar roofs before Elon Musk

August 17, 2016 by  
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Last week Elon Musk announced SolarCity is working on a solar roof that was “not a thing on the roof” but “the roof.” The promising idea could offer an alternative for those who don’t like the look of traditional rooftop solar panels , but it looks like Musk won’t be the first to create a solar roof. New York-based company SunTegra Solar Roof Systems (formerly Integrated Solar Technology) has already installed integrated solar systems in the northeastern United States and California. According to SunTegra, “three out of four homeowners would prefer an integrated solar option.” So the company, led by industry veteran Oliver Koehler, designed solar shingles and tiles that integrate with roofs. Their tile can produce 67 watts, and their shingle can produce 100 watts. Additionally, the SunTegra shingles utilize ” 50 percent fewer parts ” than traditional rooftop solar panels, and can be rapidly installed in “half the time.” Their systems are lighter than racked panels too. Ventilation built into SunTegra’s units help them stay cool. Related: Elon Musk is developing a roof made entirely out of solar panels While SunTegra’s units are around 15 percent more expensive than traditional rooftop panels, if homeowners need a new roof, pricing can be competitive. None of SunTegra’s roofs have leaked, and the company notes they’ve received ” exceptional wind, snow, and fire ratings .” According to testimonials on the company’s website, clients in California and New Jersey are among those who have had SunTegra shingles or tiles installed, and the company is working to grow sales in more areas of the United States as well as Mexico and Canada. It appears SunTegra is working on other solar projects for the future as well. On their website they said they will be “introducing product lines for garden and patio spaces and for the sides and facades of commercial and community buildings.” + SunTegra Via Treehugger Images via SunTegra and SunTegra Facebook

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The company that offered integrated solar roofs before Elon Musk

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