Net-zero energy DPR office becomes Austins first WELL-certified workplace

November 11, 2019 by  
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Construction management firm DPR Construction has recently moved into an impressive new workplace of its own making — a LEED Gold -certified facility located on the east side of Austin, Texas. Designed to follow sustainable principles, the net-zero energy office is fitted with energy-efficient fixtures, environmentally friendly materials and health-minded features that have also earned the project WELL Silver certification. The interiors of the new office — DPR’s regional team occupies the top floor of the mixed-use facility — were designed by IA Interior Architects . DPR’s Austin office is the fifth net-zero energy office completed by the company across the country and is seen as one of the firm’s “living labs” for sustainable design. In addition to a focus on energy efficiency, the building is notable for its promotion of healthy living. Natural lighting is emphasized while materials with volatile organic compounds are limited wherever possible. Circadian lighting design, ergonomic workspaces, a spotlight on healthy eating and activity incentive programs have helped the project achieve WELL Certification. Related: Sound-absorbing materials fold into a giant origami-like meeting pod The workspace design is also reflective of DPR’s four core values: integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness and ever-forward. As an extension of the company’s flat organizational structure, an open-office concept was created in place of private offices. Instead, employees can work from a variety of different work areas with adjustable-height workstations. Amenity spaces such as the bar/break room and the gaming corridor surround the office. “Multiple green walls with air plants and succulents, like the one in reception, enhance and in some cases provide privacy,” reads a project statement by IA Interior Architects. “Environmentally friendly and sustainable local materials, views to the outside, circadian lighting design and an increase in natural light provided by the added skylights are all factors contributing to the design’s sustainability story and DPR’s commitment to wellness in the workplace.” + IA Interior Architects Photography by Robin Hill via IA Interior Architects

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Net-zero energy DPR office becomes Austins first WELL-certified workplace

Green-roofed CLT classrooms immerse children in nature

October 22, 2019 by  
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After transforming a historic castle into a secondary school for the Groenendaal College, Antwerp architectural firm HUB was approached once again by the same client to tackle another inspiring school project — an energy-efficient primary school addition in the middle of leafy Groenendaal Park. Fittingly titled the Park Classrooms, the recently completed project provides four classrooms and a large central gathering space for up to 90 Groenendaal Primary School children aged between 6 to 7 years old. The building opens up on all sides to the park and minimizes its environmental impact with a compact footprint, use of CLT materials and additional energy-efficient features. Opened in September, the Park Classrooms were developed as part of a government-funded effort to create extra school places in Antwerp. The new pavilion replaces four classrooms, previously housed in containers, with a single structure with a compact floor plan and an emphasis on sustainability. To that end, the architects used circular construction techniques, including cross-laminated timber for the main structure and eco-friendly finishing materials and also engineered the building for ease of dismantling for maintenance and replacement. Topped with a sloping moss-sedum roof cantilevered to provide shade, the Park Classrooms is minimalist and modern to keep focus on the outdoors. Large windows, glazed double doors, and skylights flood the interior with natural light and blur the boundary between indoors and out. Natural materials are used throughout the interior to strengthen ties with the outdoors. The four classrooms are each located on a corner of the pavilion and open up to the outdoors and to a central indoor “living room” that can serve as a reception or be used for cross-classroom activities. Related: UK’s first energy positive classroom produces 1.5x the energy it uses “They were created with ‘quality of life’ in mind, which is based on the vision that sustainability is more than just energy efficiency and that architecture departs from building a liveable environment,” explain the architects. “The four classrooms that surround this space all have double external doors that give access to a covered outdoor area in the park. In this way, the children can also work or play outside, in the immediate vicinity of the familiar classroom environment.” + HUB Images © David Jacobs

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Green-roofed CLT classrooms immerse children in nature

Green-roofed home in Atlanta offers a digital detox with lush nature views

March 6, 2019 by  
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Designed to focus on life in the outdoors, the Split Box House in Atlanta is a quiet, nature-inspired retreat for a family eager to escape from the distractions of the digital world. Designed by local architectural practice DiG Architects , the green-roofed home emphasizes both energy efficiency and indoor-outdoor living throughout. In addition to lush landscaped roofs that help mitigate stormwater runoff and energy consumption, massive low-E windows flood the interior with natural light to reduce dependence on artificial lighting. Covering an area of 2,646 square feet, the Split Box House was created for a busy working couple with three children who wanted a home refreshingly different from the “surrounding banal spec homes, each a louder spectacle than the next.” As a result, the architects focused on a simple and contemporary design that started as a long, 22-foot-wide rectangular volume — the width was based on the distance that a reasonably sized wood truss can span — that then morphed into two rotated and perpendicularly set L-shaped volumes, each roughly equivalent in size and housing the public and private spaces separately. “Arranged in an efficient pattern to eliminate waste, the primary exterior cladding of the box is a low-maintenance gray cement panel,” the architects said. “The panels, attached as an open joint ventilated rainscreen system, help manage moisture intrusion and reduce energy consumption. A complimentary warm ipe wood, alluding to the softer interiors of the house, clads the cuts. Comprised of the bedrooms upstairs and the guesthouse on the main level, the private functions bridge across a covered breezeway creating an outdoor room with a view corridor to the woods and access to the main and guest house entrances.” Related: Green-roofed home is built of waste bricks and wood in Poland The light-filled interiors are mostly dressed in white walls, timber surfaces and minimalist decor so as not to detract attention from the outdoors. A series of site walls were built to mitigate the steep property and form a terraced garden planted with long grasses that reinforces the geometric form of the house. + DiG Architects Via ArchDaily Photography by Alexander Herring via DiG Architects

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Green-roofed home in Atlanta offers a digital detox with lush nature views

New hope for plastic recycling with IBM’s VolCat technology

March 6, 2019 by  
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Think how much more material would be reused if plastic recycling didn’t entail washing, sorting and individual processing. Now, IBM researchers have developed a new chemical process called VolatileCatalyst that eliminates these steps. VolCat recycling grinds up plastics, adds a chemical catalyst and cooks them at temperatures above 200 degrees Celsius. The chemicals eat through polymer strands, producing a fine white powder ready to be made into new containers. By heating PET with ethylene glycol and the catalyst, lab workers depolymerize plastic . After distillation, filtration, purification and cooling, scientists eventually recover usable matter called a monomer—in this case the white powder. This process digests and cleans the ground plastic, separating contaminants like dyes, glue and food residue. Related: 6 places to find the best recycled building materials PET is an abbreviation for polyethylene terephthalate, the chemical name for polyester. This type of plastic is used to manufacture containers for two-liter bottles of soft drinks, water bottles, salad dressings, cooking oil, shampoo, liquid hand soap and carry-out food containers. It’s even found in carpet, clothing and tennis balls. DuPont chemists first synthesized PET in the 1940s, probably never guessing that 70 years later between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastic would wind up in the ocean each year. Humans have produced more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since its invention. About half of new plastic becomes trash each year. By 2050, some scientists project there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean . VolCat developers hope to reverse this destructive trend. According to the researchers’ statement, “In the next five years, plastic recycling advancements like VolCat could be adopted around the globe to combat global plastic waste . People at the grocery store buying a bottle of soda or container of strawberries will know that the plastic they’ve purchased won’t end up in the ocean, but instead will be repurposed and put back on the shelf.” + IBM Images via Shutterstock

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New hope for plastic recycling with IBM’s VolCat technology

Adaptable home brings together multiple generations under a solar roof

January 16, 2019 by  
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When local design studio Jost Architects was approached to design a home in Kew East, Melbourne , the firm not only navigated a challenging, complex site, but it also designed for multigenerational living that wouldn’t feel claustrophobic. The result is an adaptable 358-square-meter home spread out across three floors and designed to harmonize with its surroundings. Moreover, the Kew East House was also crafted with a reduced energy footprint thanks to the use of passive solar principles and solar photovoltaic panels. The clients, a couple with teenage children and a dog, Timba, asked Jost Architects to create a multigenerational home in anticipation of when the grandparents, who currently live overseas, move in in the future. To accommodate the clients’ elderly parents, the architects designed an internal granny flat on the ground floor next to the garage. Above, the first floor houses the master bedroom and main living areas. The two children’s bedrooms and a rooftop balcony with sweeping views of the park to the city are located on the top level. Strict council setbacks and a steep terrain informed the design of the house, which is recessed into the slope. The architects also took cues from the neighborhood and landscape to knit the Kew East House into its surroundings. “The banded fascias fold and rake, vertically and horizontally, braiding the building into the streetscape. The functional spaces are layered within this fabric,” the architects said. “Externally, the materials are selected for their robust and tonal hue responding to the huge eucalyptus enveloping the site and the other beautiful native flora around the Kew Billabong and Yarra River beyond.” Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Natural light floods the interior through thermally broken windows and multiple skylights, while Melbourne’s intense heat is kept at bay with deep eave overhangs, external sliding and fixed timber batten screens as well as operable glazing that allows for cross ventilation. The Kew East House is powered with a 4.95 kW photovoltaic system . + Jost Architects Photography by Shani Hodson – Zoso via Jost Architects

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Adaptable home brings together multiple generations under a solar roof

Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal

July 16, 2018 by  
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When design firms Aurora Arquitectos and Furo were asked to transform an old building in the Portuguese coastal resort town of Cascais into a hip hostel, they had their work cut out for them. Though the building was still standing, the interiors were completely rundown. Using a laminated steel frame to reinforce the structure, the architects steadily transformed the building from ruin to welcoming lodgings that play up the Portugal vacation theme with tropical prints and bright, sunny colors. Located near the coast just west of Lisbon , the Hostel in Parede is housed in a stately renovated building painted a beautiful sky blue. The interior was divided into nine modules, with the central module housing a skylit spiral staircase painted a vibrant shade of yellow to evoke the sun and the nearby sandy beaches. The sculptural staircase, which connects the three floors, features rounded corners that hide the utilities. “We were asked to consider the project as having a high level of flexibility in terms of future use,” Aurora Arquitectos and Furo said. “A hostel at first, capable of becoming a single-family house with little changes. This is how the autonomous volumes containing the bathrooms came to be, easily removable should one want larger bedrooms. The overall building’s structure also derived from the logic of easy future transformation.” Related: Y-shaped German hostel looks at sustainability from all angles Bedrooms are distributed across all three floors of the hostel. The semi-basement houses two of the dorm rooms, bathrooms and laundry room, and it opens up to the garage and courtyard . The ground floor comprises the main communal areas including the reception, kitchen, dining room, living room and a bedroom space with shared bathroom facilities. Four more dormitory rooms are located on the first floor, with the bathrooms housed in a freestanding unit placed in the center of each room. + Aurora Arquitectos + Furo Via Dezeen Images © do mal o menos

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Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal

Breezy Verandah House embraces indoor-outdoor living in India

June 7, 2018 by  
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A curvilinear form, large glazed windows, and a natural material palette tie this spacious contemporary home into lush surroundings on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in western India. Ahmedabad-based architecture firm MODO Designs crafted the breezy home—named The Verandah House—for their clients, the Munshaw family, who sought a home that would embrace the outdoors and be filled with natural light. The home’s curvaceous form derives its inspiration from an old ancestral house as well as from the existing natural topography and features. Located on a lushly planted four-acre plot, the 6,781-square-foot Verandah House serves as an antidote to city living. The clients previously owned a 20th-century colonial style house in a densely populated area in Ahmedabad and desired a new home that avoided “a rigid box formation.” The brief called for an indoor-outdoor design with large interiors to accommodate the family’s collection of artifacts, paintings, Persian rugs, books and ancestral furniture. The home is defined by a spacious veranda with a cantilevered roof that wraps around the east side of the home. The house bends to optimize views of the lily pond, which can be seen from the entry veranda as well as the lower and upper verandas. Inside, the house is organized around a daylit central spine that divides the living room, dining area, library and master bedroom from the secondary bedrooms, kitchen and storage areas housed in the rear bay. A large parking deck occupies the north end of the site. Related: This luxury Miami home brings the tropical landscape indoors “The house is a fusion of raw character of outdoor spaces and the finesse of the interiors,” wrote the architects. “The exterior material palette is natural jute panels on the curving beam face, Valsadi wood paneling, and doors, concrete ceilings, terracotta colored rough surface and rough Kotah stone flooring. This is further complemented by old renovated wood and cane furniture in the verandah spaces. The interior space, in contrast, has white walls, polished Kotah stone. The interior space fuses old and customized new furniture along with lots of artifacts, paintings, and Persian rugs.” + MODO Designs Via ArchDaily Images by Bharat Aggarwal

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Breezy Verandah House embraces indoor-outdoor living in India

Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape

April 10, 2018 by  
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Lovers of minimalist architecture will swoon over Innauer-Matt Architekten’s Höller House, a beautiful modern home built mainly of wood in Austria’s picturesque Bregenzerwald valley. Set in a steep hillside, the dwelling combines inspiration from traditional farm buildings with a more contemporary vibe evidenced in its gabled form and restrained minimalist palette. Light timber is used throughout the home, inside and out, and is complemented by the structural framework’s exposed concrete columns. Built of timber felled from the homeowner’s forest, the 1,428-square-foot Höller House celebrates its timber construction with exposed wooden beams and surfaces left unpainted. Natural light fills the home through large openings and skylights , but privacy is also preserved by the slatted wooden facade and intentionally hidden entrance. Related: Handsome Austrian house is clad in a latticed facade made from local spruce To satisfy the client’s desire for a private outdoor space, Innauer-Matt Architekten added covered terraces that wrap around the home, a feature the architects call the “outermost shell.” The light-filled living and dining area serves as the inner “shell” and is organized around a core of exposed concrete comprising the staircase, toilet, and storage room. “This way we created a wide spectrum of translucence and transparency which we gradually and individually adapted to each room, its purpose and the level of desired intimacy, preventing unwanted insights while making beautiful outlooks part of every day life and living,” wrote the architects. + Innauer-Matt Architekten Images © Adolf Bereuter

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Minimalist timber home gracefully blends into the Austrian landscape

Swooping rooflines make this proposed Silicon Valley home a sculptural work of art

March 20, 2018 by  
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Cambridge-based design studio WOJR has proposed an unusual Silicon Valley home that stands out from the pack with its swooping rooflines and sculptural appearance both inside and out. Located in Los Altos, the House of Horns will be built on top of an existing foundation originally intended for an “elaborate Spanish style home.” In contrast to the former proposed designs, the new dwelling embraces minimalism with clean lines and a restrained neutral palette. Though the project has yet to be built, WOJR’s impressive renderings reach a level of photorealism that could easily fool the unknowing eye. The 8,500-square-foot home will be wrapped in black timber and topped by a sculptural metal roof that curves upwards in multiple directions, giving rise to the home’s name House of Horns. Ample glazing, from the skylights to the clerestories on the “horns,” ushers in natural light. Related: Charred timber home perched above Silicon Valley takes cues from nature In contrast to the exterior, the rooms are lined in light colored wood, pale concrete floors, and marble partitions. Full-height glazing frames views of greenery and the dips and swells of the roofline are expressed in the ceilings. On the ground level, communal areas are placed in the center of the building and flanked by bedrooms and bathrooms. The basement level below ground will also enjoy access to the outdoors with hobbit -like circular openings that open up to small courtyards. Construction on House of Horns is scheduled to begin this summer. + WOJR Via Dezeen Images via WOJR

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Swooping rooflines make this proposed Silicon Valley home a sculptural work of art

Riken Yamamoto unveils green-roofed designs for Taiwans Taoyuan Museum of Art

March 20, 2018 by  
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Taiwan’s Taoyuan City is often passed over for its glitzier neighbor Taipei , but a new proposed art museum could give the city an extra boost in attracting new talent and tourists. Kanazawa-Based Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop unveiled competition-winning designs for the Taoyuan Museum of Art that comprises a pair of dramatically sloped green-roofed buildings. Dubbed “The Hill,” the multipurpose art museum will be located in the heart of the city and serve as a new community hub. Created in collaboration with Joe Shih Architects, THR ARTECH, Ove Arum & Partners, Nagata Acoustics, and Izumi Okayasu Lightning Design, Riken Yamamoto’s the Hill proposal will be constructed within a 9.8-plot split in two by the elevated high-speed rail line. The nearly 34,000-square-meter museum will be located within striking distance of Taoyuan International airport . Its dramatic form responds directly to the competition brief, which specified a sculptural museum appearance “mimicking a piece of artwork.” Related: Shimmering bamboo-shaped skyscraper to rise in Taipei In addition to hosting artwork and providing an incubator space for local emerging artists, the museum will double as a new public park and the sloped green roof will be made accessible by way of a zigzagging ramp. Boxy white pavilions punctuating the sloped roof will house retail. The project is expected to catalyze economic development in the area as well as the addition of new artists’ residences. + Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop Via ArchDaily Images by Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop

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Riken Yamamoto unveils green-roofed designs for Taiwans Taoyuan Museum of Art

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