Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

March 27, 2020 by  
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Mumbai-based firm  Sanjay Puri Architects  has just completed work on a beautiful hotel in northern India known for wine production. Built on a base of locally-sourced natural stone, the Aria Hotel is a stunning design carefully stacked onto the landscape that boasts several passive and active features to make it incredibly  energy efficient . Located in the ancient city of Nashik in the northern Indian region of Maharashtra, the  beautiful hotel  is located right on the banks of the Godavari River. The idyllic location includes the river on one side and rising hills on the other, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature. Related: Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort According to the architects, no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography. Stacked multiple levels high, the hotel is built on a base of locally-sourced natural black basalt stone . The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout the suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light  thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, further reducing the hotel’s energy usage. The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs thanks to a rooftop solar array . In addition to its clean energy generation, the hotel was installed with a rainwater collection system that provides water for irrigation. All of the luxury units boast large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and  minimize heat gain  throughout the interior spaces. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via v2com Photography by Dinesh Mehta and Sanjay Puri

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Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

March 27, 2020 by  
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Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled its competition-winning designs for the Shimao ShenKong International Centre, a new “three-dimensional urban living room” for the heart of Shenzhen’s Longgang district. Selected from nearly 30 competition entries, the winning proposal, also known as the Shenzhen Terraces, will introduce over 20 programs to a thriving university neighborhood. The project also focuses on sustainability and will integrate passive design principles, native landscaping, recycled materials and solar panels.  Named after its architecture of stacked plateaus, the Shenzhen Terraces project references forms of the nearby mountains while its predominately horizontal lines and curvaceous shapes provide a visual contrast with the vertical lines and hard edges of the surrounding high-rises. The terraced design also creates opportunities for large overhangs to mitigate solar gain as well as spacious terraces filled with plants and water basins for cooling microclimates . Bridge elements link various buildings to create a continuous elevated route.  Related: ZHA unveils LEED Gold-targeted OPPO headquarters in Shenzhen “ Shenzhen has developed so quickly since its origins in the 1970s,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “In cities like this, it is essential to carefully consider how public spaces and natural landscape can be integrated into the densifying cityscape. The urban living room of the Shimao ShenKong International Centre will be a wonderful example of this, and could become a model for the creation of key public spaces in New Town developments throughout Shenzhen. It aims to make an area that you want be outside, hang out and meet, even when it is hot — a literally cool space for the university district, where all communication space can be outside. It will truly be a public building.” As a sustainable hub, the 101,300-square-meter Shenzhen Terraces will be home to a pedestrian-friendly landscape, a bus terminal and a mixture of functions — such as an art gallery, library, conference center and outdoor theater — conveniently placed near high-rise housing, commercial complexes and educational facilities. The landscaping, designed in collaboration with Openfabric, will mimic the curvaceous architecture and will feature native sub-tropical plants and recreation zones.  + MVRDV Images by Atchain via MVRDV

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MVRDV designs a sustainable urban living room for Shenzhen

Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions

March 4, 2020 by  
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In the coastal township of Barwon Heads, Australian architecture firm Peter Winkler Architects has completed the Green Velvet House, a family’s solar-powered home that sensitively responds to the landscape in more ways than one. Positioned for passive solar design and to maximize views over the surrounding tree canopy, the sustainable dwelling was engineered to minimize impact on the existing terrain. In addition to walls of glass that let in natural light and ventilation, the home draws power from a rooftop solar array and minimizes its environmental footprint with rainwater collection tanks for irrigation and toilet-flushing. Nestled into an existing depression in the site, the Green Velvet House rises to a height of two stories with 580 square meters of living space. Its minimalist appearance — a facade of cement sheets and floor-to-ceiling glazing divided by exposed structural timbers — helps to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. “In response to the program, we have minimized the building footprint by efficiently consolidating the form, rather than creating a sprawling building that overtakes the site,” the team explained. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne To keep the focus on the outdoors, the solar-powered home is surrounded by walls of glass and terraces that invite the owners outdoors on multiple floors. The outdoor spaces and the interiors are protected from unwanted solar gain by generous eaves and horizontal screens. The main living areas and the guest bedroom are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for the more private areas, including the master suite and two children’s bedrooms. Plywood walls and a sealed fiber-cement ceiling reference the exterior materials and lend a sense of warmth to the interiors. Recycled “Grey Ironbark” hardwood columns and beams are also featured throughout the building. For energy efficiency, the Colorbond tray deck roof is fitted with a 10.26 kW photovoltaic system . The aluminum sliding doors are also outfitted with double glazing, while the double-hung, sashless windows can be opened for natural ventilation. Three 5,000-liter water tanks were installed beneath the north deck to store rainwater for garden use and toilet-flushing, while other stormwater runoff is retained in bioswales. The home is also equipped with hydronic heating, wood-burning fireplaces and a Sanden heat pump with a 315-liter water tank. + Peter Winkler Architects Photography by Jack Lovel via Peter Winkler Architects

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Former scrapyard is now a site for sustainable, solar-powered homes

January 28, 2020 by  
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Unit One Architects has turned a disused London lot into a row of dwellings with energy-saving features to meet the Level 4 Code for Sustainable Homes . Located behind a historic neighborhood of terraced Victorian houses in northern London’s Harringay Ladder district, the Cozens Place properties include solar panels , energy-efficient insulation and semi-permeable drainage to sustainably manage rainwater. Originally a residential area, this spot was hit by a V1 bomb strike during World War II. In the years following, the neglected commercial site sat unoccupied, morphing from a back-land plot into garages and eventually a working scrapyard . The disused site became a hot-spot for criminal activity because of its lack of safeguarding and general isolation. In 2013, the land was purchased through auction by Reve Developments, and planning permission was gained to transform the site back into its initial purpose. Unit One Architects designed the set of row-style homes so that the site couldn’t continue to be cut through on foot, therefore dissuading criminals and improving security for the surrounding area as well. Related: War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon Cozens Place consists of three two-bedroom homes with thoughtfully landscaped, private front and back gardens, off-street parking and split-level open-floor plans. The included solar panels are concealed with a 45-degree roof pitch on the top of the second house, which can be accessed by the operable skylight. Apart from the high-quality insulation, the buildings also feature a high level of air-tightness and built-in underfloor heating. Bricks were used in the profile to match the Victorian buildings located behind the new homes. The houses were also positioned on an east-west axis to connect internal and external spaces. This allowed optimal light to shine into the habitable rooms, no matter what time of day, while making the homes feel more expansive, regardless of the narrow width of the building plot. + Unit One Architects Photography by Charlie Birchmore Photography via Unit One Architects

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Former scrapyard is now a site for sustainable, solar-powered homes

Tacoma’s Dune Peninsula: from slag heap to beloved park

November 13, 2019 by  
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On a gorgeous fall day, people jog and walk dogs along Tacoma’s waterfront in the new Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park . Locals appreciate the almost miraculous transformation of this land. The human-made peninsula, named for the science-fiction book by Tacoma author Frank Herbert, was built over an accumulation of slag a manufacturer dumped into Puget Sound for 70 years. As Tacoma Park Board Commissioner Erik Hanberg said in a news release, “The theme in ‘Dune’ of a world destroyed by environmental catastrophe drew in part from Frank Herbert’s life experiences in Tacoma, which in the 1950s was one of the nation’s most polluted cities. The characters in the novel have a goal to ‘terraform’ their planet back to its inhabitable origins. That’s what we’ve done here. We have terraformed a polluted wasteland into a beautiful environment for all to enjoy.” Related: Recycled botanical garden in Seattle brings visitors decades of joy The 11-acre addition to Point Defiance Park opened in July. The new Wilson Way bridge also opened, connecting Point Defiance Park to Ruston Way. Bicyclists , runners and walkers have long bemoaned the lack of connection between trails at this point, now solved by the new bridge. The most fun part of the design is a series of six slides connecting the park with the marina below. Stairs nearby offer another way to get down the slope, or a way to get back up, for those who want to repeat the slide experience — sometimes over and over. Concerts and other outdoor events have a new venue in the park’s Cambia Legacy Lawn. The paved Frank Herbert Trail provides a pedestrian path. Developers had a complex job of building this project around so many active uses, competing interests and different jurisdictions, according to Clayton Beaudoin, the principal of landscape architecture firm Site Workshop . This Seattle -based landscape architecture firm worked with Metro Parks Tacoma on designing the cleanup and layout of Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance. Metro Parks commissioned Adam Kuby and Nichole Rathburn to create site-specific artworks. Kuby’s work, Alluvion, uses steel pipes to suggest the smelter smokestack of the former ASARCO plant, long infamous for wafting “the Tacoma aroma” over the city. Rathburn’s Little Makers, a series of bronze forms, are based on the novel Dune, drawing parallels between the book’s plot and the transformation of a slag pile into a park. Beaudoin talked to Inhabitat about the transformation from slag heap to beloved new park. Inhabitat: What was this site like before you started building the park? Beaudoin: A portion of the site was occupied by the Tacoma Yacht Club, including their clubhouse, access road and parking. The other portion of the site was generally flat and covered with yard soils from the North Tacoma remediation project. There was no vegetation or infrastructure. Inhabitat: Tell us about the toxic slag — what were its risks to people? Beaudoin: The contaminants of concern (COCs) were lead and arsenic . When a new fracture face opened up, which happened as the slag weathered, small amounts of lead and arsenic would make their way into Commencement Bay, which caused heavy metal loading. The shoreline armoring and capping of the peninsula, which is located beneath the park, eliminates the metal loading to Commencement Bay. In addition, the slag could be ingested either by inhalation or eating it. The cap allows people to be on the peninsula and keeps them from having contact with the slag. Lead ingestion can cause severe mental impairment, and arsenic is a carcinogen. Inhabitat: How did you move it and where did the toxic slag go? Beaudoin: As part of the shoreline armoring, the slag was excavated to a 2:1 slope, so the shoreline armoring would be stable over time. The slag was moved using conventional construction equipment (excavator, articulated dump trucks and dozers). The excavated slag was placed on the peninsula (in the Yacht Club parking lot and under the park). The elevation of the peninsula was raised 10 to 20 feet to accommodate the slag and contaminated soil. This lowered the carbon footprint of the project by keeping the contamination onsite and not hauling it offsite. The capping system was then placed on top of the contaminated slag and soil. Inhabitat: Describe the woven geotextile cap. What is it? How big is it? What does it do? Beaudoin: There are three kinds of caps on the peninsula: low perm asphalt, low perm concrete and a multilayer cap composed of a geocomposite clay layer, 40 mil HDPE and a geonet. Each cap type prevents water from infiltrating the contaminants and then getting into Commencement Bay, and it also prevents people from coming in contact with the contaminants. The cap system is required to have a permeability less than 1 x 10-7 cm/sec. The cap covers all of the peninsula, which is about 13 acres. It also ties into the adjacent Point Ruston site, which is also a Superfund site and has a cap underneath it. This is the largest Superfund Redevelopment Project in Region 10 of the EPA . Inhabitat: What inspired you to build the slides? Beaudoin: Together with Metro Parks, Site Workshop has designed a lot of parks and public spaces, and we’ve learned to anticipate how people use space. At the very top of the slope is an overflow parking lo,t which we imagined would be used by boaters. After launching their boats, they would have to drive their trucks to the top and race back down some 90 feet of elevation to their boats. Slides seemed like the fastest — and most fun — way to do it. We’ve been working hillside slides into many of sloped projects, and since the Dune Peninsula was never intended to host a traditional playground, this seemed like a nice way to work something playful into the trail portion of project. Inhabitat: What do you like best about the resulting park? Beaudoin: The most gratifying and inspiring result is how the citizens of Tacoma have embraced the park in all of its rustic, rough and less-manicured edges. We think Dune Peninsula resonates with people because of how it celebrates Tacoma’s cultural and natural history without beating you over the head with it. There’s plenty of mystery to discover and beauty to inhale, and people (and the wildlife !) are responding in ways that should make everyone involved feel proud. Also, for such a large site, we were able to utilize several creative features, which were constructed in especially cost-effective but impactful ways. For example, the Moment Bridge, which has become a bit of an icon for the city, is constructed from off-the-shelf concrete girders akin to what you might see over a highway. However, the design team was able to craft those basic materials in a way that make it feel special, including the “moment” at the center, the railings and the unusually shaped piers. The planting scheme was developed to utilize site soils and be delivered in a way that minimizes maintenance compared to traditional landscapes (which import topsoil and bark mulch and require persistent maintenance). Early in the project, we created test plots to evaluate how the site soils responded to various amendments, which helped minimize cost and improve the success of the plantings. + Site Workshop Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Tacoma’s Dune Peninsula: from slag heap to beloved park

Apartment complex will be infused with vegetation to create a vibrant ‘garden city’

September 11, 2019 by  
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Malmö-based architect Jonas Lindvall has been chosen by the Swedish coastal city of Ystad to construct a plant-filled apartment complex. Slated for the Trädgårdsstad neighborhood, the Brf Leanderklockan will be comprised of 18 two- and three-story apartments that will incorporate the existing flora from a nursery that was formerly located on the site. The Brf Leanderklockan development will feature 18 units within the northern part of the new district in Ystad’s Dammhejdan area. Considering that the site was formerly occupied by a plant nursery, the new urban development will incorporate the existing vegetation to create a lush, nature-like atmosphere for residents. Related: A modern home in South Korea is embedded into its environment via an expansive green roof The complex will consist of three separate blocks, with each one containing six apartments . The units will range in size from 850 square feet to 1,500 square feet and will have open-plan layouts. Most of the apartments will boast a flexible design layout that allows them to easily be converted into live/work spaces or multi-generational homes. Some of the larger units will feature double-height ceilings with mezzanine floors, and most of the units also have spacious private terraces or patios accessible through sliding glass doors. Although the concept is quite minimalist and contemporary, the new complex will also feature plenty of green space . As part of the local council’s plan to create a “green neighborhood” in the area, much of the original vegetation from the former nursery will be preserved, including hanging vines, trees and bushes, in order to create a vibrant, verdant environment for future residents to enjoy. + Jonas Lindvall Renderings and drawings by Lindvall A & D

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Apartment complex will be infused with vegetation to create a vibrant ‘garden city’

BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami

August 16, 2018 by  
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Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled designs for a massive mixed-use development that is elevated into the air on thin stilts. Located in the central Miami neighborhood of Allapattah, an industrial, working-class district mainly comprised of produce suppliers, the major complex will serve as a new landmark destination in the city. Dubbed Miami Produce, the project will activate the site with urban farming, restaurants, storefronts, co-working offices, co-living apartments and educational programming. Covering an area of 125,000 square meters, the Miami Produce development takes cues from its industrial surroundings, which can be seen in the buildings’ large industrial-sized floor plates that the architects say “provide maximum programmatic flexibility.” The first phase of the project will see the restoration of the existing produce warehouses, linear buildings that run the length of the site and will be renovated to house educational and commercial programs. A series of passages will be cut through the buildings to improve circulation and provide better access to the nearby metro station. The spaces between the buildings will be landscaped to create three different public spaces: campus, street and garden. To increase site density, the architects plan to add four linear warehouse -like buildings elevated on slim pillars and arranged on the perimeter of the site, creating a large open courtyard in the center. The structures will include two volumes for residential, one for offices and another for hotel. Each building will be topped with unique green roofs that offer recreational opportunities. Related: Foster + Partners unveil plans for a pair of hurricane-resistant high rises in Miami Four more buildings will be stacked in a staggered formation atop the elevated structures. “[These] buildings float above the roofs’ capes and span over the openings below, creating gateways that open up to the surrounding neighborhood while providing light and air to the rooftops,” Bjarke Ingels Group said. “The buildings function as a three dimensional urban framework designed to activate the neighborhood with varying programs and environments.” + Bjarke Ingels Group Images via BIG

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BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami

This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

August 16, 2018 by  
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Set in one of the last remaining undeveloped coastal areas in California, the Off-Grid Guest House, designed by architect Dan Weber of Anacapa and designer Steven Willson of Willson Design , is a stunning showcase of sustainable and low-impact design. The contemporary home is nestled into a steep hillside in a wildlife preserve and perfectly perched to offer breathtaking, nearly 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscape of rolling hills and rocky outcroppings. Due to its remote location, the guest house—and the owner’s nearby main residence—are completely self-sufficient by necessity and powered with a rooftop solar panel system. Topped with a lush green roof planted with native grasses, the Off-Grid Guest House is built from durable and resilient materials including steel, concrete and glass. Full-height glazing surrounds the home, as does a wraparound outdoor balcony that’s cantilevered over the landscape and is partly sheltered by overhanging eaves. The abundance of glazing—including the glass balustrades—blurs the boundaries between inside and out and welcomes sweeping panoramic landscape views into the living spaces. “At the heart of the Owner’s objectives for this project, is preservation and protection of the natural environment,” reads the project statement on Anacapa’s website. “As such, this modern guest house is nestled into the hillside and situated on a spectacular site with ocean views. This healthy home is the pinnacle of environmentally-conscious, low-impact design and construction.” Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas The home operates off the grid with a photovoltaic energy system, on-site water supply and sewage treatment system that directs wastewater to a septic tank and dry well. The interior is fitted out with LEDs and low-energy appliances. Jessica Helgerson Interior Design furnished the interior with rich walnut accents and custom fixtures and furnishings. The house also includes a detached garage discreetly built into the hillside. + Anacapa + Willson Design Images via Erin Feinblatt

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This solar-powered, off-grid California guesthouse is 100% self-sustaining

The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens this week

June 20, 2018 by  
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An important feature of permaculture is the concept of stacking functions, or finding multiple uses for the same space or resource. North Carolina-based PineGate Renewables is taking this principle to a new level with the opening of the largest solar farm apiary in the U.S.  Starting this week, the Eagle Point solar farm in Jackson County, Oregon will host 48 hives of honey bees underneath and between the solar panels. John Jacob of Old Sol Apiaries helped to determine the site’s suitability and will serve as the caretaker of the bees. “In 2016/17, Oregon beekeepers reported losing nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies statewide,” Jacob said. “The pollinator-friendly solar sites Pine Gate Renewables is developing can play an important role in helping address the population crisis among our managed and native pollinators.” Studies conducted on solar farm apiaries in the U.K.  suggest these kinds of hybrid projects can increase the bee and insect pollinator population in a region, thus benefiting the natural environment and agricultural farms. A new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that there are more than 16,000 acres of pollinator-dependent crops near 204 megawatts of solar energy facilities in Oregon alone. Related: Bee Saving Paper “works like an energy drink for bees” PineGate Renewables’ SolarCulture sites are planted with low-ground native flowers and grasses, which boost soil health, store storm water and support a healthy ecology. The specific vegetation plan for the Oregon site was designed by Colorado -based ecological services firm Regenerate, and by spring 2019, this site is expected to provide pollinator habitat equivalent to about 24,800 homes with 6’ x 12’ pollinator gardens maintained for 25 years. In the future, the buzz about PineGate Renewables’ pollinator project may inspire others to join forces to serve the public and the environment with solar farm apiaries. + PineGate Renewables + Old Sol Apiaries Images via PineGateRenewables

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The largest solar farm apiary in the US opens this week

A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat

June 20, 2018 by  
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A city-dwelling family in need of rural respite reached out to Von Weise Associates to make their country escape a reality. In response, the Chicago-based architecture firm delivered a stunning modern getaway that fully embraces the rural vernacular with a sensitive renovation of an existing farmhouse and barn. Located in the southeast Michigan township of Sawyer near Lake Michigan, the Retreat House consists of a new single-family house and adjacent studio for the artistic couple. In designing the home’s layout, Von Weise Associates took cues from the layouts of traditional farms , where the different functions were typically located in different buildings. In much the same way, the retreat conceptually places the different living spaces — including the sleeping, cooking and work areas — into separate volumes. Anchoring the home is the kitchen , dining area and living space housed within the refurbished old barn with a striking gambrel roof and soaring arched ceilings. The light-filled great room opens up to an adjacent screened porch. The original farmhouse was gut- renovated into an artist’s painting studio and sleeping loft. Large windows and skylights flood the interiors with natural light, while the reflective whitewashed walls emphasize a bright and airy feel throughout. Modern and unfussy furnishings, natural timber and a rusty-red painted exterior help tie the building to its rustic past. Related: Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse “All portions of the house have a close relationship to the ground, making the landscape a vital part of the program,” Von Weise Architects said. “The orientation of the house creates multiple outdoor living spaces, plus a gardening area. The landscape and the orientation of the structures set up layers of space that moves from the public way to privacy of the house. The most private space beyond the house embraces the expansive wooded site on three sides.” + Von Weise Associates Images by Steve Hall

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