House of Childhood is a daycare that emphasizes energy efficiency

January 20, 2021 by  
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As part of a National Association for Urban Renewal project that will run until 2030, the Maison de l’enfance à Albertville (Savoie, France) is the first step in an ambitious urban development masterplan in the area. Translated House of Childhood, the building was designed by Tectoniques Agency and is functional, inviting, striking and environmentally friendly. With a commitment to early childhood, this initial project is a multipurpose facility with a dynamic, open floor plan that incorporates a municipal daycare center, a family daycare center, space for nursery assistants, a leisure area and a school restaurant. Related: Adorable prefab nursery in Greece mimics a tiny urban village According to a press release, the House of Childhood is, “set in the heart of the Bauges, Beaufortain, Lauzière and Grand Arc mountain ranges,” making for a natural backdrop in nearly every direction. Architects placed an emphasis on the upper level of the building in order to capture the sweeping landscape. In addition to exceptional views of the surrounding peaks, the building responds to a goal of minimal site impact . In fact, a compact design caters to the architects’ call for preserving the ground in anticipation of future land development of green spaces. The team relied on a concrete foundation — Albertville is in a seismic zone — but equally relied on natural materials like different types of locally sourced wood for framing and furniture. To soften the look, the concrete walls are surrounded by a wooden structure. The upper facade offers protection and visual appeal with a combination of shimmering bronze and copper coloring. A significant portion of the building was built using prefabricated panels, ensuring industrial quality while allowing expediency of construction. This technique enabled the project to be completed in 13 months. Energy-efficient elements are included, such as the biomass heating network and ventilation provided by an adiabatic AHU to keep children cool during hot summers. The centralized entrance provides access to a reception area on one end and the dining room, activity rooms and technical rooms on the other. The first floor houses a courtyard with a generous playground. Natural light illuminates the interior through a combination of skylights and glazed facades. The interior design is also focused on the children, drawing natural elements inside with fully exposed bleached beech and spruce walls, ceilings and furniture. Paint colors designate separate spaces; for example, yellow defines the changing rooms and blue defines the restrooms.  + Tectoniques agency Photography by Renaud Araud via Tectoniques agency 

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House of Childhood is a daycare that emphasizes energy efficiency

LEED Gold-targeted Knight Campus advances scientific innovation

January 13, 2021 by  
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The University of Oregon recently welcomed the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, a 160,000-square-foot campus built to accelerate groundbreaking scientific discovery and development in a collaborative multidisciplinary environment. Designed by New York-based  Ennead Architects  and Portland-based Bora Architecture & Interiors, the Knight Campus raises the bar for research facilities with its human-centered design that prioritizes wellness and socialization as well as energy efficiency. The eco-conscious campus features high-performance glazing as well as cross-laminated timber materials and is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification.  Named after benefactors Penny and Phil Knight who contributed a $500 million lead gift, the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact comprises a pair of L-shaped towers that frame an elevated terrace and courtyard at the heart of the campus. Transparency is emphasized throughout the design from the glass bridge that connects the two towers to the large expanses of glazing that make up the buildings’ unique  double-skin facade  and put the interior lab and office spaces on display. “So much of research is about improving the human condition,” said Todd Schliemann, Design Partner at Ennead Architects. “Our goal for the Knight Campus was the creation of a humanistic research machine – one that supports practical needs and aesthetic aspirations, but more importantly, one that inspires the people who work in it, those that move through it and those that simply pass by, and that contributes to the  university  community and the greater context.” Related: Oregon Ducks hit a home run with über-green Jane Sanders Stadium The campus was designed with input from University of Oregon faculty and staff, who helped inform the building’s open workspaces of varied sizes and highly adaptive spaces that give researchers the freedom to change their lab spaces to nimbly work across fields as needed. The new labs also boast cutting-edge technologies, such as  3D-printing  and rapid prototyping, to speed up the process of taking scientific discovery to market.  + Ennead Architects Images via Ennead Architects

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LEED Gold-targeted Knight Campus advances scientific innovation

Zimbabwe permaculture education center promotes self-sufficiency

December 11, 2020 by  
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German architecture firm  Studio Anna Heringer  has completed the first kindergarten in  Zimbabwe’s  Chimanimani District, a rural and desolate region home to about 200 families that have long lacked access to education. The kindergarten, which builds on the firm’s award-winning portfolio of humanitarian architecture, serves as a pilot project for PORET, Zimbabwe’s permaculture community, to promote permaculture and encourage self-sufficiency in the local community. Using community labor to support the local economy, the buildings are constructed from locally sourced timber, thatch and stone. Constructed over approximately 11 months in 2014, the kindergarten consists of a pair of domed buildings set on stone foundations. The structural frames use timber from Zimbabwe tree plantations. Inspired by the country’s beautiful thatched roofs and the routine tradition of cutting grass to lower an area’s risk of fire, the architects covered the structural ribs with thatching. Local craftsmen were employed for the labor-intensive work of thatching and building the stone foundations, thus providing the community with a good share of the construction budget. “With these local techniques the project aims to build with a process that reinforces solidarity and team spirit, skills and knowledge, self-confidence and dignity,” the architects explained. “Due to the contexts climate and local conditions buildings, unless built in glass and steel, will not last forever, but it is essential that the know-how to maintain and rebuild them is kept alive and traded on to the following generations. This is why we see this project primarily as a training in advanced building techniques with existing materials that can become the compost of the kindergarten fields one day.” Related: Donkey-drawn mobile libraries bring books to people in Zimbabwe While in operation, the kindergarten will teach children permaculture principles from the basics of soil and plant care to water harvesting techniques. The two buildings can also function as training and meeting spaces for the community.  + Studio Anna Heringer Images by Margarethe Holzer

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Jules Ferry School is a model for a sustainable learning environment

November 16, 2020 by  
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A school in France is showing the world how to use eco-friendly design to create much more than buildings. The Jules Ferry School will be part of an entire youth center that is designed to create a learning environment where children help to create their own academic experiences. What is architecture? To Méandre etc’ architects, architecture is an invitation to examine social relationships. That was the concept the team brought to the Jules Ferry School, where everyone has a role in their own learning journey. Related: Modular Tree-House School concept connects kids with nature The school is at the historic Bois du Mont Guichet in a residential area of Montfermeil. Jules Ferry School will have 13 classrooms and a recreation center. The school is close to a sports field and several other schools, creating a youth center right in the heart of the neighborhood. The building will be oriented southward to take advantage of the natural light and heat from the sun. Children enter the building through a beveled entrance that creates a transition between the outside world and the learning environment within. There will be a nursery school on the ground floor, with four classrooms for the little ones. Older children will be on the upper levels. A library and a local market will be housed on the first floor. The library has its own independent entrance, so it can be enjoyed by the general public as well as the children in the school. Each classroom on the ground floor will be a stand-alone unit with its own facilities and direct access to the garden outside, which opens up to the schoolyard itself. The courtyard is designed with geometric forms to create a playful, fun area for the children to enjoy. On the roof will be a large solar array to provide clean energy for the school. The building itself will be constructed with geo- and bio-sourced materials. The plan is to create a passive, unheated building using eco-friendly materials, including straw, mudbrick and wood. The design for the Jules Ferry School has already won an award for its innovation and creative concept. Construction on the project is scheduled to start in early 2021, with plans to open the building in 2022. The school is an example of how design can be part of our world without taking away from it, yet still be tailored to the purpose it is supposed to serve. The Jules Ferry design could be a model that determines what schools look like in the future. + Méandre etc’ architects Images via aR. communication

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Jules Ferry School is a model for a sustainable learning environment

Educational center in Russia has a wind turbine and rooftop solar panels

July 30, 2020 by  
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Located in the Russian village of Khryug in southern Dagestan, the Luminary Inspiration Center is a welcomed educational experience in a small town of just 2,000 residents. The idea for an interactive creative center was born thanks to a local charity foundation, which delivered computers to the village schools in an effort to bring the area up to national internet communication standards. The center has been open since mid-2018 and has always remained free-of-charge for kids between the ages of 10 and 17. By 2020, there were about 120 children regularly studying in the center, half from Khryug and the rest from neighboring villages. Related: Locally crafted children’s learning center doubles as an emergency shelter in the Philippines One of the most compelling aspects of Luminary is its architecture, which is unlike anything else in the immediate region. Most of the children who frequent the center have never been outside of their villages, nor have they experienced anything outside of their own neighborhood’s common architecture. Luminary offers a chance for them to see mosaics of different styles and epochs as well as the combination of the traditional architecture of the area with contemporary black metal and glass elements. The educational center is located within a 2,500-square-meter property inside of an apple garden and includes a lecture hall designed with panoramic glass walls and an outdoor amphitheater for fresh-air learning during favorable weather. Inside, there is a wide range of educational spaces including an observatory, robotics and VR laboratories, a virtual planetarium, a cinema, a library and an artistic workshop. A peaceful, modern interior creates the perfect learning environment for studying and creative thinking. Sunlight-harvesting rooftop solar panels assist with the frequent power outages, so if the internet is lost at any time, it only takes 0.025 seconds for the solar battery to kick in. A large wind turbine in the garden powers the water fountain and provides a working example for a favorite student project — assembling a working wind turbine and solar power station in Luminary’s technological laboratory. + Archiproba Studios Photography by Alexei Kalabin via Archiproba Studios

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Educational center in Russia has a wind turbine and rooftop solar panels

Sculptural aluminum roof keeps Cal Poly building cool

July 14, 2020 by  
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California State Polytechnic University’s (Cal Poly) Pomona campus recently welcomed a new gateway building that not only consolidates academic services, but also serves as a sustainable campus landmark. Los Angeles-based firm  CO Architects  designed the 140,000-square-foot building, a two-wing structure topped with an eye-catching aluminum roof that spans two acres. The massive, undulating roof protects against California’s intense sun, while also referencing the campus’s topography, including the foothills and nearby San Gabriel Mountains.  Completed in 2018, Cal Poly’s new Student Services Building (SSB) consolidates formerly fractured departments — including enrollment, registration, financial aid, cashiering and prospective student services — into one destination. The 110,000-square-foot, three-story main building houses the service centers on the ground floor, offices for academic, student and administrative affairs on the second level and offices for the university president, provost and university advancement on the top floor. A two-story, 30,000-square-foot wing located across a shaded pedestrian breezeway contains the veteran resources center, orientation, multipurpose rooms, human resources offices and additional service centers.  The SSB draws the eye with its wavy standing-seam aluminum roof constructed with perforated metal overhangs that vary from five to 28 feet in depth. Extensive daylight, glare and solar heat-gain analysis modeling informed the roof’s orientation and design. As a result, the optimized roof serves as a primary performance driver for the building; its Energy Use Intensity rating is 31 compared to an average of 65, and it minimizes energy loads for lighting and cooling while improving thermal comfort. The  LEED Platinum -certified building enhances its energy efficiency with LEDs installed throughout. Low-E glass strategically installed also provides naturally lit workspaces for the majority of the eight-hour work period.  Related: Immense drought-tolerant green roof provides valuable teaching tool in thirsty California Spurlock Landscape Architects led the design of the building’s environmentally responsible landscape plan. This plan features drought-tolerant plantings and an on-site capture system for stormwater and roof runoff, which is used to irrigate the new landscape.  + CO Architects Images by Bill Timmerman

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Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees

July 14, 2020 by  
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Just in time to celebrate National Forest Week from July 13 to July 19, fashion brand Solo New York is planting one tree per purchase for its line of affordable bags made from recycled plastic bottles . The first run of the company’s Re:cycled Collection recycled over 90,000 bottles, and this is just the beginning. The environmentally friendly manufacturing process starts with discarded plastic bottles otherwise destined for the landfill and transforms them into a high-quality and lightweight recycled PET polyester yarn. The process uses 50% less energy and 20% less water and creates 60% less air pollution than traditional fiber manufacturing, according to Solo New York. The main bodies of the Re:cycled Collection bags are made up of the re-spun plastic yarn; the tags, strings and stuffing are made entirely from other biodegradable and recycled materials . Related: Patagonia’s Black Hole Bags are made from recycled plastic bottles The Re:store Tote ($54.99) is made with a heather gray material and includes a padded compartment for laptops, an interior organizer section, a key clip, a front zippered pocket, a quick access pocket and a back panel for sliding over luggage handles. The lightweight, 0.57-pound Re:vive Mini Backpack ($24.99) also includes adjustable shoulder straps and black camo interior lining, while the Re:move Duffel ($64.99) includes shoulder straps that are both removable and adjustable. This is not the first sustainability effort for the popular New York brand — the line also features eco-friendly packaging with fully biodegradable hang tags and recycled boxes. The company also limits use of single-use plastics, and its headquarters is 100% powered by 1,400 rooftop solar panels (which is enough to power 87 homes). Catalogs are printed on paper with 30% post-consumer fiber and are manufactured using renewable energy as well. Now, every bag purchased from the collection will help plant a tree with the National Forest Foundation. + Solo New York Images via Solo New York

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Each purchase of this bag made from recycled plastic helps plant trees

UNStudio unveils future-proof energy-generating education building for TU Delft

June 29, 2020 by  
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UNStudio has unveiled designs for Echo, a new multipurpose academic building for TU Delft that will not only generate its own energy via solar panels but will also feature a highly flexible and demountable design to ensure sustainability. Created in collaboration with Arup and BBN, the building responds to the campus’ needs for greater and more versatile teaching spaces with the inclusion of seven teaching rooms, the largest of which accommodates 700 people and can be divided into three separate rooms as needed. Echo is currently under construction and is slated for completion in December 2021. Surrounded by full-height, high-performance glazing on all sides, Echo embraces the concept of transparency with the inclusion of a covered public square created by connecting the adjacent square through its glazed ground floor — flanked by two auditoria — and out to the opposite street. Conceived as a “public connector,” the building renders the oft-invisible world of learning into a visible experience and further pulls the community in with a diagonally oriented restaurant with a terrace opposite the D:Dreamhall. Related: UNStudio to transform Gyeongdo Island into a sustainable tourism destination Adaptability defines Echo, which follows the contemporary culture of “Everything Anywhere” emphasizing the importance of interstitial spaces as potential study areas and meeting spaces. For instance, the winding grand stair that forms the heart of the building is wide enough to accommodate the flow of people as well as impromptu study sessions. In addition to the inclusion of classrooms and 300-plus study spaces for group work and self-study, Echo will provide medium-sized and large teaching rooms that accommodate between 150 to 700 people.  User comfort and sustainability has also been prioritized. To protect against unwanted solar gain , the building is topped with a large roof with deep aluminum awnings, while climbing plants will be grown along cables to create a subtle green facade over time. + UNStudio Images by Plompmozes via UNStudio

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WOHA to transform polluted swamp into green university

March 20, 2020 by  
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For nearly 50 years, Bangladesh-based nonprofit  BRAC  has championed change for good, and now the NGO will take its do-gooding a big step forward with the establishment of BRAC University in Dhaka. Designed by Singaporean architecture firm  WOHA , the university will be a beacon of environmental and social sustainability as well as a catalyst for positive change in the local community. Slated for completion in 2021, the development will accommodate over 10,000 students on a site that has been remediated from polluted swampland.  In addition to serving as a place of learning, BRAC University will become a showcase of sustainable low-tech solutions for mitigating Bangladesh’s intense summers and heavy monsoons. Key to the design will be the abundance of greenery that blankets the building, which translates to over 26,000 square meters of landscaping that grows both vertically and horizontally to help cut out glare and dust and promote natural cooling to reduce dependence on air conditioning. The architects will also remediate the swamp grounds into a bio-retention pond filled with lush native landscaping that will further enhance a comfortably cool microclimate through evaporate cooling.  Due to Dhaka’s density, the roughly 88,000-square-meter university will rise to a total of 13 stories. Rooms will be based on nine-by-nine-meter structural  modules  to ensure flexibility so that classrooms can combine to former larger units or be subdivided as needed. A “single-room-thick design” also gives every classroom easy access to cross ventilation and daylighting. Gathering spaces will be open and airy yet sheltered from the elements.  Related: WOHA revamps Singapore office with lush ‘pocket parks’ A large recreational sky park known as the “University Green” will crown the roof of the university and comprise a recreational field, a swimming pool and a 200-meter running track beneath a large photovoltaic canopy. Harvested  solar  energy will be used to power giant High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) fans, common area lights and student laptops.  + WOHA Images via WOHA

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A Brisbane cottage is sustainably updated to gracefully age in place

March 20, 2020 by  
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In Brisbane’s leafy suburb of Paddington, Australian architectural practice Shaun Lockyer Architects has created a contemporary and sustainable addition that provides a striking contrast to the original cottage it sits beside. Dubbed Sorrel Street, the concrete-clad extension is a deliberate counterpoint to the local vernacular while respecting the scale of the neighborhood. Sustainability and the client’s desire for limited maintenance also informed the design, which features green roofs, substantial thermal mass, LED lighting and low-E glass throughout. Completed in 2016, Sorrel was commissioned by clients who wanted their suburban home reworked to better meet the needs of their children, one of whom has limited mobility. As a result, the architects altered the sloping site to create a flat lawn that opens to the northwest side. The need for flat land also led the architects to place the contemporary addition to the north of the cottage so that the main living spaces could flow out to the level garden. Related: A 1920s cottage gets a new lease on life as an urban barnyard house “The project explores the juxtaposition between historical context and contemporary architecture within a broader subtropical paradigm,” Shaun Lockyer Architects explained. “In a somewhat controversial decision, the call was made to ‘leave well enough alone’ and make a clear distinction between the small, original cottage and the new work, keeping their respective personalities distinct.” The renovated, predominately single-story home is centered on the kitchen and comprises all the main sleeping and living areas on the upper level, while only the garage, storage, offices and media room are on the lower floor. To minimize energy use, the home is equipped with deep eaves and strategically placed windows and skylights for cross-flow ventilation and natural lighting. The insulating green roof and thick concrete walls help maintain stable indoor temperatures, while timber flooring and furnishings lend a sense of warmth throughout. + Shaun Lockyer Architects Photography by Scott Burrows via Shaun Lockyer Architects

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