A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture

September 13, 2018 by  
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When Singaporean architecture firm Park + Associates was tapped to design an extension for Nanyang Girls’ High School in Singapore, the team knew that it would have to think creatively. The brief called for two large four-story blocks that would house a variety of programs, including classrooms, a large performing arts center and a multipurpose indoor sports hall. To meet these requirements without overshadowing the school’s existing architecture, the firm built the spaces below ground — an unconventional move and considered the first of its kind for an academic extension in Singapore  — and topped the new buildings with artificial turf that can be used for sports and outdoor recreation. Founded in 1917, the Nanyang Girls’ High School is one of the top public schools in Singapore. The school changed campuses several times and has been established at its present location along Dunearn and Bukit Timah Roads in the heart of Singapore since 1999. The school’s original colonial-inspired architecture comprises a clock tower flanked by two brick wings and has become an iconic landmark for the area. As a result, Park + Associates wanted to preserve the appearance of the building without necessarily emulating the existing school complex in the new design. Therefore, the firm decided to set the two new extension blocks partly below ground and top the volumes with curved green roofs that slope to touch the ground. By lining the roofs with artificial turf, the architects could also replace the school field. Careful consideration was taken to create bright and airy interior spaces within the partially underground extension, which enjoys access to plenty of natural light, views and natural ventilation. Related: New images show greenery engulfing Singapore’s tropical skyscraper The architects explained, “This Nanyang Girls’ High School extension, as the first secondary education institution in Singapore that has spaces below ground, is symbolic, as it allows students to see that rethinking assumption and rules, followed up with constructive discussions, can result in an outcome more successful and creative than otherwise imaginable.” + Park + Associates Images by Edward Hendricks and Frank Pinckers

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Can we integrate natural ecosystems in urban Asian spaces?

September 4, 2018 by  
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A Q&A with one of Singapore’s top architects on how Asian cities can be more environmentally friendly.

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Can we integrate natural ecosystems in urban Asian spaces?

New images show greenery engulfing Singapores tropical skyscraper

August 30, 2018 by  
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When we last saw local design practice WOHA Architects’ 30-story Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, the tropical skyscraper had only begun to sprout the lush landscaping that would later overtake the building’s facade. Now, a little over a year-and-a-half later, we’ve been treated to new images of the high-rise that has become increasingly enveloped in creeping vines. This combination of nature and architecture is continued into the building’s embrace of indoor-outdoor spaces, particularly in the sky gardens designed by Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola , that feature verdant landscaping and spacious pools. Located in Singapore’s central business district, the Oasia Hotel features a sealed-off, air-conditioned tower sheathed in red aluminum mesh cladding. More than 20 species of creepers and vines grow on the facade and will envelop the exterior in a process largely helped along by the country’s humid tropical climate. The plants were also selected for low-maintenance and ability to withstand strong winds, particularly at the top of the tower. The vertical garden set against a vibrant red backdrop not only serves a striking visual component for the building, but it also helps reduce the urban heat island effect and clean the air of pollutants. Rising to a height of over 600 feet, the tropical skyscraper comprises four large outdoor spaces. Three massive verandas occupy the 6th, 12th and 21st floors, while a luxurious roof terrace can be found on the 27th floor. The roof terrace is protected from solar heat gain and noise pollution by a 10-story-tall screen constructed from the same material as the building’s red mesh aluminum cladding. Greenery also grows over the screen to give the rooftop terrace the impression of a hidden oasis. Related: This plant-covered Singapore skyscraper is the tropical building of the future Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola led the design of the outdoor spaces as well as the hotel interior. To give each of the outdoor locations an oasis-like appeal, she introduced verdant greenery and — on the 21st and 27th floors — added swimming pools lined with beautiful AGROB BUCHTAL tiles. + WOHA Architects Images via Infinitude

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New images show greenery engulfing Singapores tropical skyscraper

Off-grid Glass Cabin is built of recycled materials on reclaimed Iowan prairie

August 30, 2018 by  
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Indianapolis-based architecture and design studio atelierRISTING recently completed the Glass Cabin, a family retreat that operates off the grid with minimal site impact. Designed and built by the architects on land belonging to a sesquicentennial farm in northeastern Iowa, the property is elevated off the ground to minimize disturbance of the grasslands and floodplain. Built in the shape of a wood-framed pole barn, the low-maintenance building is powered with solar energy. Set in a clearing in the woods next to the Wapsipinicon River, the Glass Cabin derives its name from  full-height low-E insulated glazing that wraps around its northern facade. Barn-inspired timber doors slide over the northern glass front for security when the retreat isn’t used. Flanked by outdoor terraces, the elevated home includes two bedrooms, one bathroom with a composting toilet, a great room, kitchenette and screened porch within 1,120 square feet. Indoor-outdoor living is embraced throughout the light-filled abode, as is natural ventilation. Natural and reclaimed materials were used throughout the off-grid home. Western Red Cedar was used for the structural framing, barn doors, exterior and interior siding and exterior decking because of its natural resistance to moisture, insects and fire. The timber was left untreated and will develop a silvery gray patina over time to match the aged barns nearby. Natural cork was used for the flooring, while the wall cabinets were custom-built from cedar. “While primarily a three-season retreat, a Norwegian designed wood stove provides warmth for the holidays,” the architects added. Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas To minimize construction waste, standard lumber sizes were used. The Glass Cabin, oriented on a north-south axis, relies on passive solar strategies to keep its energy footprint at a minimum. Energy efficiency is also secured with highly efficient mineral wool and rigid insulation, achieved by using R-30 floors, an R-20 roof and R-15 walls. The white metal roof also helps to minimize heat gain. + atelierRISTING Via ArchDaily Images by Steven & Carol Risting

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Off-grid Glass Cabin is built of recycled materials on reclaimed Iowan prairie

BIGs massive Lanescraper building may become Australias tallest tower

August 10, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled designs for the Lanescraper, a supertall building proposal that has been shortlisted for Melbourne’s Beulah Tower competition. Envisioned with a footprint of over 2.5 million square feet, the Lanescraper aims to serve as a bustling mixed-use destination housed in what could be the tallest tower in Australia. The $2 billion project would see a dramatic redevelopment of the post-industrial Southbank neighborhood, so-named after its location south of the Yarra River. Selected as one of six shortlisted designs, the Lanescraper reinterprets the concept of Melbourne’s laneways and block neighborhoods into a giant “vertical block” made up of a series of stacked and staggered volumes with laneway-inspired gaps in between. Rising to a height of nearly 1,200 feet, the Lanescraper will feature a mixed-use program with car parking, food and retail, interactive/discovery spaces and the BMW Experience Center at its lowest levels. Stacked above will be the entertainment and cultural options in addition to office and commercial space, childcare facilities and a hotel. The bulk of the building will be reserved for residential use, which occupies the uppermost levels. The design is developed around the idea of two cores—one large and one smaller—which lends itself to an optimized walking layout and circulation. The stacked and staggered boxes also help break down the mass of the building to a more human scale. The design was created in collaboration with Fender Katsalidis , ARUP, Jan Gehl, GTA Consultants, bloomimages, and Brick Visual. Related: BIG and CRA break ground on greenery-infused Singapore skyscraper “The stacked blocks between the cores extend upwards and interlock to provide connectivity and structural rigidity, appearing as a zipper of diverse programmatic functions that step back respectfully from Southbank Boulevard and Power Street,” explains Bjarke Ingels Group. “In doing so, the tower tapers inwards and negotiates the space between the surrounding buildings, minimizing vis-à-vis at the top and overshadowing of the public realm below. An evolution of the skyscraper beyond the proverbial ‘village-in-the-sky’ to a tower uniquely Melburnian: the LANESCRAPER.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via BIG

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BIGs massive Lanescraper building may become Australias tallest tower

Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

June 22, 2018 by  
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Over 15,000 plastic bottles were temporarily given a new lease on life as a glowing labyrinth in Vatican Square, one of Buenos Aires’ most celebrated public spaces. Designed by environmental art collective Luzinterruptus , the Plastic Waste Labyrinth calls attention to the staggering amount of waste generated everyday in a thought-provoking installation. Commissioned by the Department of Environmental and Public Areas of Buenos Aires City Government, Ciudad Verde, the immersive artwork was installed for one week and open 24 hours a day as part of Global Recycling Day. Previously installed in Madrid and Katowice, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth is a site-specific piece constructed from waste collected from the surrounding area. To show which beverage brands generate the highest amount of waste in Buenos Aires, the architects left the bottle labels on. More than 15,000 plastic bottles were collected from the city with the help of several urban recycling cooperatives. After the plastic bottles were cleaned and sorted into clear plastic bags , Luzinterruptus built a labyrinth that stretches over 650 feet in length and covers an area of 1,550 square feet. “We created an immersive labyrinthine piece where visitors would feel disoriented and anxiously look for an exit,” explained the arts collective. “This experience intended to beget a thought, a conversation, or perhaps an intention to improve our way to use or get rid of plastic. We want to take the opportunity here to bring attention to the uncontrolled use of bottled liquids which is causing great problems in poor countries while reservoirs are being privatized and bought by large corporations and their selfish interests, thus owning water, Earth’s most important resource and a fundamental right of all its inhabitants.” Related: Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for “plastic binge” awareness The labyrinth is illuminated with cool white LEDs that turn the labyrinth into a glowing space at night. At the end of the event, the Plastic Waste Labyrinth was dismantled and all the plastic was recycled. The bottles, cleaned and sorted by color, were sent back to the city’s recycling cooperatives, while the bags were returned to the manufacturing plant, where they would be melted. + Luzinterruptus Images via Luzinterruptus

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Glowing labyrinth made from plastic waste pops up in Buenos Aires

Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for plastic binge awareness

April 24, 2018 by  
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Design collective Luzinterruptus worked their artistic plastic magic last month with an illuminated plastic bottle installation at Singapore’s I Light Marina Bay , dubbed “Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival.” The massive glowing artwork, called Transitable Plastic, comprised seven movable walls hung beneath the Esplanade Bridge, one of the busiest transit areas in the bay. Designed to raise awareness about the “plastic binge,” the interactive artwork required visitors to physically move the plastic walls out of the way in order to get to the other side. Installed for approximately four weeks, Transitable Plastic was created with over 20,000 recycled plastic units collected from the community and local businesses including hotels, restaurants and shopping malls over the span of a month. Luzinterruptus vacuum packed the plastic bottles to create larger panels that were then strung together to form seven large walls. These makeshift walls were hung from metal scaffolding. The installation took 10 days to complete. Related: Historic French building stuffed with plastic bags looks ready to explode “We [lit] the piece with a cold, neutral light which enhanced the glint of the plastic material and brought out the color of the labels allowing to easily guess which are the city’s most popular beverage brands,” wrote the designers. “As visitors entered the piece, landmarks disappeared so they had to get the plastic out of the way in order to avoid getting stuck in the corridors and to get to the other side, a healthier, more open place where they could breathe fresh air. A more-than-a-minute-long walk among plastics which could bring about a bit of asphyxia and inevitably the thought of plastic and its related problems.” Transitable Plastic was fully disassembled at the end of the event and the materials were sorted and recycled. + Luzinterruptus Images by Colossal Pro

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Giant glowing bottle walls light up Singapore for plastic binge awareness

MIT just discovered a way to mass produce graphene in large sheets

April 18, 2018 by  
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Scientists used to make graphene -based membranes in small batches in a laboratory. But a new breakthrough at MIT enables researchers to roll out large sheets of high-quality graphene. The continuous manufacturing process can produce five centimeters of high-quality graphene per minute. The longest run was nearly four hours, and it generated around 10 meters of continuous graphene. MIT is calling the development “the first demonstration of an industrial, scalable method for manufacturing high-quality graphene that is tailored for use in membranes that filter a variety of molecules.” These membranes could be utilized in biological separation or desalination , for example. The researchers drew from the common industrial roll-to-roll approach blended with chemical vapor deposition, a common graphene-fabrication technique. Related: Newly discovered property of graphene could lead to infinite clean energy Their system is comprised of two spools linked by a conveyor belt, which runs through a furnace. According to MIT, here’s how it works: “The first spool unfurls a long strip of copper foil, less than one centimeter wide. When it enters the furnace, the foil is fed through first one tube and then another, in a ‘split-zone’ design. While the foil rolls through the first tube, it heats up to a certain ideal temperature, at which point it is ready to roll through the second tube, where the scientists pump in a specified ratio of methane and hydrogen gas, which are deposited onto the heated foil to produce graphene.” MIT associate professor of mechanical engineering John Hart said, “In the end-to-end process, we would need to integrate more operations into the manufacturing line. For now, we’ve demonstrated that this process can be scaled up, and we hope this increases confidence and interest in graphene-based membrane technologies, and provides a pathway to commercialization.” The journal Applied Materials and Interfaces recently published the work; scientists from Vanderbilt University , the California Institute of Technology and the National University of Singapore contributed. + MIT News + Applied Materials and Interfaces Images via Christine Daniloff, MIT and courtesy of the researchers

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MIT just discovered a way to mass produce graphene in large sheets

A giant, air-purifying "cloud" just popped up in the middle of Milan

April 18, 2018 by  
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If you’re tired of breathing less-than-clean city air , Milan has a temporary respite for you. “Transitions,” a giant, cloud-like pod, has landed in the heart of the Brera Design District for Milan Design Week 2018 . As envisioned by Takehiro Ikeda, the enormous “water-drop pavilion” uses Panasonic ‘s cutting edge air-purifying technology to provide all those who enter with clean, cool air. Most cloud-like design installations create mist using gases, which aren’t exactly good for the visitors’ health. The Panasonic pavilion, however, employs only natural water to build an intangible and immersive experience: a walk through atmospheric, ultra-fine mist created with the company’s groundbreaking technology. Panasonic’s “Nanoe x” technology collects moisture from the air and uses high voltage to create nano-sized particles of water. Highly reactive components called OH radicals — which are generated in huge numbers and inhibit viruses and bacteria — remove odors and allergens and prevent mold. The pavilion utilizes compressed air to turn water into a “silky fine mist.” Unlike a conventional two-fluid nozzle model, this technology creates a fine mist using low-pressure air and eliminates the need for large compressors, making it an attractive option for city cooling technology. Takehiro Ikeda said the “Transition” installation is a preview of the latest air purification research, which will be used during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo to guarantee a pleasant, cool atmosphere during the hot Japanese summer. Related: Kengo Kuma wins bid for Tokyo’s Olympic stadium, Zaha Hadid speaks out The project is also energy-efficient. Instead of using large amounts of natural resources to power the air conditioning system, the pavilion – which measures about 20 meters in diameter – needs only a few liters of water for each functioning cycle. With this installation, Panasonic is celebrating its 100-year anniversary and transitioning towards a new creative philosophy: designing products, services and experiences that go beyond physical products to address emotional and environmental well-being. + Milan Design Week 2018 Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat

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A giant, air-purifying "cloud" just popped up in the middle of Milan

The world’s largest beer brewer invents low-carbon beer bubbles

April 18, 2018 by  
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Belgium -based AB Inbev, the world’s largest beer brewing company, has created a new low-carbon method for adding bubbles to beer . The technique, which is expected to reduce the company’s CO2 emissions by 5 percent, involves heating the brew to just below boiling point, then pumping in CO2 or nitrogen to create gas bubbles. Typically, bubbles are created during the boiling process, which requires a great deal of heat and water. AB Inbev claims that using lower temperatures in the early brewing process cuts emissions and results in a beer that stays fresh for longer. AB Inbev fine-tuned and tested this method for four years at an experimental brewery in Leuven near Brussels, then later at large facilities in the United Kingdom. These bubbles are not to be confused with the bubbles that emerge when cracking open a cold one. The oh-so-satisfying suds are a product of fermentation — in which yeast consumes sugars within the brew to create CO2 and alcohol — and pressure formed through kegging or bottling. Related: Beer with biodegradable six-pack rings finally hits the market The company’s 5 percent annual emissions reduction is roughly equivalent of the energy consumption of 120,000 Western families. The method will also lead to a 0.5 percent reduction in water consumption which is the equivalent of 1,200 Olympic swimming pools. “Our innovation is to heat everything up to just below boiling point, which provides 80 percent energy savings at this point in time,” AB Inbev Europe research director David De Schutter told The Guardian . “There is a lot less steam released, which allows you to spend less on water. In our case, we managed to go from 5 percent evaporated water to less than 1 percent.” Cheers to that! Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

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The world’s largest beer brewer invents low-carbon beer bubbles

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