Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

July 14, 2017 by  
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The Bluebonnet Studios social housing development in Austin supports a healthy lifestyle through the design. The property, designed by Forge Craft Architecture + Design , provides housing for the homeless, low-income veterans and local musicians. It features forward-thinking sustainable elements such as recycled and locally-sourced materials, a well insulated envelope, optimal orientation, low-flow fixtures and occupancy sensors. The architects worked with a difficult site and a very tight budget, which required a close collaboration between the design, construction, and ownership teams, as well as help of sustainability experts like Pliny Fisk and Jason McLennan . An important aspect of the design was access to natural light , which the team provided by creating a light well that runs through the center of the building. This emphasis on daylight also allows for most of the building to be functional without artificial light in the event of a power outage – including all circulation. Heating and cooling are provided by centralized LG VRF units tied to individual apartment thermostats. Each thermostat is coupled to both window sensors and door-triggered occupancy sensors . All the interior finishes and products were regionally sourced, recycled and healthy. On top of the building, a green space allows for outdoor activities. Related: Top 6 Green Supportive and Low-Income Housing Projects Of the 107 single-occupancy units, 22 are reserved for the area’s homeless and low-income veterans, while five are dedicated to local musicians. Each resident received a small package of tools, including a recycling bin, recycling magnet, green cleaning recipes, and recommendations for conservative thermostat settings to help residents keep their homes green. Additionally, a green housekeeping program provides a dispensing station with Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals for maintenance staff and janitorial contractors. + Forge Craft Architecture + Design Photos by Paul Bardagjy

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Energy-efficient Bluebonnet Studios offers sustainable housing to Austins most vulnerable citizens

Solar-powered ‘ecotopia’ proposed as alternative to Trump’s border wall

April 7, 2017 by  
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In response to Trump’s maddening determination to build a wall along the US and Mexico border , one group of fed-up designers has proposed an entire new territory, called Otra Nation , that would be open to citizens of both Mexico and the United States. The high-tech ecotopia designed by Made Collective (Mexican & American Designers & Engineers) is a new country that spans 1,200 miles across the border, powered by massive solar farms and connected with a hyperloop transportation system. The ambitious proposal is being called a “shared co-nation.” The territory would stretch for over 1,200 miles and encompass 12 miles on each side of the border, effectively joining Tijuana, El Paso, and San Diego. The land would be considered unincorporated territory, with an independent local government and non-voting representatives. Otra Nation residents would retain their natural-born citizenship, but would be granted a new ID microchip for identification purposes, giving them access to the independent health care and education systems . Related: Donald Trump would probably hate this crossable border wall The plan also depicts Otra Nation as a sustainable community , generating energy from 90,000 square kilometers of solar panels that would meet the demands of the new territory and then some. Watersheds and local ecosystems on both side of the current border would also be restored. Under the plan, an intercity hyperloop would be used for clean transportation. As far as the economic structure, companies built on “sharing principles” would be encouraged, but any company or service looking to “minimize human employment with autonomous vehicles and drone technologies” would be prohibited. According to Made Collective, the project would be focused on bringing communities together versus creating divisions, “The 19th century brought us boundaries, the 20th century we built walls, the next we will bridge nations by creating communities based on shared principles of economic resiliency, energy independence and a trust based social contract.” In an interview with The Verge , members from the Made Collection admit that, although they have formally applied for a US government contract, there’s little possibility that the US and Mexican governments will take their proposal seriously. Although, they are still holding out hope that their idea might make it to a popular referendum so that, as collective member Marina Muñoz puts it, “We can really make the complete American continent great again.” + Otra Nation Via The Verge Images via Otra Nation  

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Solar-powered ‘ecotopia’ proposed as alternative to Trump’s border wall

The Venus Project envisions a sustainable redesign of our cities and civilization

February 27, 2017 by  
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While countries worldwide advanced significantly, we still grapple with issues like poverty, crime, or homelessness. 100-year-old futurist Jacque Fresco and architectural illustrator Roxanne Meadows founded The Venus Project to not only address these problems, but also to redesign cities to make them more sustainable. These circular cities draw on technology and science to produce a better society with a less harmful environmental impact. The Venus Project thinks our monetary system is dehumanizing and leads to dysfunctional behavior. According to Meadows, who spoke in an interview with Futurism, the founders advocate what they call a Resource Based Economy, which calls for resources to be distributed equitably without money or credit. Services and goods would be available for all people for free, much like checking out books at a library. Related: The galaxy-shaped Indian utopia built on principles of no money or government Although The Venus Project offers a vision for redesigned cities , architecture isn’t the project’s sole focus. Meadows told Inhabitat, “The Venus Project is more than just architecture ; it is about a new social design. The architecture is built with that in mind and designed to conserve resources and maintain a high standard of living so the entire global population can have access to adequate housing , nutritious food, clean water, and all the amenities an advanced technical civilization can achieve. The Venus Project’s architecture is not isolated from its social direction; no branch of science should be.” A main idea of The Venus Project is to move past politics . Meadows said politicians are rarely experts on preventing climate change or developing clean energy sources, for example. Instead, they often work to maintain the status quo and serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful. Meadows told Futurism: “It is not ethical people in government that we need but equal access to the necessities of life and those working toward the elimination of scarcity. We would use scientific scales of performance for measurement and allocation of resources so that human biases are left out of the equation. Within The Venus Project’s safe, energy-efficient cities, there would be interdisciplinary teams of knowledgeable people in different fields accompanied by cybernated systems that use sensors to monitor all aspects of society in order to provide real-time information supporting decision-making for the well-being of all people and the protection of the environment .” The team completed a 21-acre research center in Florida as the first phase of the project, and are working to get the ideas out to the public through documentaries and a film in the second phase. They also aim to construct an experimental research city. + The Venus Project Via Futurism Images courtesy of The Venus Project

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The Venus Project envisions a sustainable redesign of our cities and civilization

High school students are building tiny homes to give to flood survivors

February 20, 2017 by  
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In West Virginia, students that would normally be constructing birdhouses or bookshelves are instead contributing their labor and newly acquired skills to help give those who lost everything a new start. Last year, historic floods devastated the state, destroying over 5000 homes and killing over 20 people. So students from across the state have gathered together to build compact, energy efficient tiny homes for victims of the flooding. West Virginia has struggled to provide adequate housing for those thousands made homeless by the storm. So high school students attending 12 vocational schools throughout the state are demonstrating that they may have a promising solution. The participating vocational schools, such as Carver Career and Technical Education Center in Charleston, traditionally teach practices such as carpentry and plumbing.  A new, first of-its-kind partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education and the Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment initiative enables students to access hands-on learning to design and build homes for local flood survivors from concept to completion. Each unique  tiny house i s just 500 square feet. Related: Studio H launches Kickstarter Campaign to Build a Shipping Container Classroom at Berkeley’s REALM Charter school 15 homes have been built so far, thanks to funding from the state’s Board of Education and regional community supporters. All of the homes are unique and some are designed to be portable.  Unlike trailers that are supplied by FEMA in post-disaster zones , each of the tiny homes will have individual design accents. Each home includes a bathroom, kitchen, living room and laundry room.  The ground-breaking program has potential to be scaled to serve communities in other post-disaster zones. + WV Public Broadcasting Via NPR Photos Courtesy of West Virginia Department of Education  

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High school students are building tiny homes to give to flood survivors

Architects use local materials to build beautiful Costa Rica community center

January 30, 2017 by  
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Round building offer many advantages in terms of sustainability and resilience , so it’s no surprise to see disaster-prone communities turning to the curved architecture. Fournier Rojas Arquitectos recently created a beautifully round community center for the small Costa Rican town of El Rodeo de Mora. The center, which was primarily built with locally-sourced and donated materials, will provide the economically disadvantaged area with an adaptable space for hold community events and a shelter during natural disasters. El Rodeo de Mora is rural community located in hot and humid central Costa Rica, which sees extended periods of heavy rainfall. These conditions, along with poor construction, caused the community’s existing center to deteriorate over the years. When Fournier Rojas Arquitectos stepped in to work pro bono on the project, they focused primarily on constructing a building that would be sustainable and durable granted the tropical climate. Related: Villa Nyberg: A Passive Swedish Prefab with a Cool Circular Floorplan They based the design layout on the needs of the community – it offers a kitchen, toilets, a storage facility and amenities for the local soccer team – but they were also working within the challenges of the location itself. Costa Rica has strict regulations in place to reduce damage from earthquakes, and the architects built the center (which can hold up to 100 people) on high ground to protect it from flooding . Using local materials , many of which were donated, the architects managed to keep the cost down to less than $250 USD per square meter. At the heart of the center is an adaptable circular room, whose exterior is made of clay ventilation bricks – a common material of choice for tropical environments. Not only did the round design help cut down the cost in terms of materials needed, but the circular layout provides natural air circulation. The entire building sits on reinforced concrete columns. Eight pitched roofs made from lightweight fiber-cement sheets make up the building’s canopy, which extends out past the circular volume, further providing shade and protection from the elements. The “layering” style of the roof was strategic to further optimize the building’s natural ventilation . The design has won an award from the WAC (World Architecture Community, May 2015) and a Special Mention in S.ARCH AWARDS (May 2016). + Fournier Rojas Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photography by Fernando Alda

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Architects use local materials to build beautiful Costa Rica community center

A series of cantilevering cubes make up this French social housing complex

January 18, 2017 by  
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Bordeaux-based firms, More Architecture  and  Poggi Architecture, have collaborated on a ultra-contemporary design for a social housing complex named White Clouds. Located in town of Saintes in western France, the 1,886-square-meter complex holds 30 apartments made out of cantilevering white boxes with perforated balconies, which serve to let in optimal natural light while providing privacy. The architectural team designed the social housing complex layout to maximise outdoor space. For the building itself, the design called for a series of stacked boxes that slope with the natural landscape. Each of the apartments was equipped with gridded metal balconies that jut out past the main volume. Along with the extra benefit of having a balcony, the architects avoided a central facade so that the eye-catching complex could emit a strong cohesive nature. Related: Social housing project with two “faces” channels Parisian duality The gridded metal balconies that jut out of each apartment serve dual functions: they let in an optimal amount of natural light into the living spaces, and offer a sense of protected privacy to the tenants. According to the architects, it was of utmost importance to provide a sense of personal space within the design, “Exit conventional balconies, terraces and loggias with their separating walls and shields of varying transparency, used to hide unsightly objects or provide a modicum of intimacy.” According to the design team, the unique features of the complex were based primarily on the needs of the tenants, “The harmonious association of setting and architecture makes way for a design which, rather than closing in on itself and looking inwards, opens out to embrace the neighbourhood as a whole while still providing protection from direct line of sight and noise thanks to its perforated cladding.” + More Architecture + Poggi + More Via Dezeen Photography by Javier Sevillas Callejas

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A series of cantilevering cubes make up this French social housing complex

Biodesign Architecture Competition Extends Deadline to Sept 6th

August 31, 2016 by  
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Calling all future-forward architects and designers! How can we create buildings that heal themselves, ourselves, and the natural environment? Advances in synthetic biology, bio-printing, and material engineering have opened up a whole new field of Biodesign – and we’re giving away $1000 to the best project that integrates the natural world into the built environment. The winner of our Biodesign Competition will also be showcased to the X-Prize foundation as well as millions of Inhabitat readers around the world – and we’ve extended the deadline until September 6th , so enter today! The Fab Tree Hab living tree house concept by Mitchell Joachim, Javier Arbona and Lara Greden ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE > The X-Prize Foundation is a prestigious innovation engine that awards forward-thinking ideations for a better world. The winner of our Biodesign competition will get to display their work in front of the exemplary X-Prize board, including Larry Page, James Cameron, and Ariana Huffington. The winning Biodesign will be considered for entry in the new regenerative building X-Prize launching in April 2017. A combination of solar and wind power make Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut ‘s Dragonfly concept 100% self sufficient. We’re looking for applicants with “ bold and innovative visions for the future of construction at the intersection of the physical, the digital, and the biological. ” Will buildings be grown instead of assembled ? What would our buildings be like if they could grow to accommodate changes in their inhabitants or environment? What emerging material has the most potential for a biodesigned future? Mushroom Tower at MoMA PS1 museum in New York City – grown entirely form fungus Visions for the following categories will be considered: A. Spaces for living – Single family home in the suburbs – Multi-family apartment in the city – Informal settlement or slums in the context of an emerging economy – In situ revitalization of abandoned buildings in the context of cities with declining population B. Spaces for learning or healing DEADLINE We will be accepting entries through our online entry form , here , until 11:59 PST on September 6, 2016. *Entrants need to submit their designs in JPEG format (under 1MB) through the user upload form, but please note that all finalists will be asked to provide high-res 11X17 PDFs. Any entrant who wants to be considered for this prize should save all work as high resolution, vector files. ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE >

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Biodesign Architecture Competition Extends Deadline to Sept 6th

Friends give their kitchen a green makeover filled with fun upcycled touches

August 31, 2016 by  
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Tiffany had been planning to eventually overhaul her outdated kitchen anyway, but unexpected flooding caused by burst pipes fast-forwarded the need for renovation. She recruited actor Kat Tingum, a friend and fellow recycling aficionado, to come along on her green makeover adventure. “My job as Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle fully supports this mentality of reuse and upcycling,” Tiffany told us. “And while my day job (and a lot of my hobbies, too) involve building furniture and accessories, neither Kat nor I had ever done anything involving plumbing, hanging cabinets, or installing large appliances. This was definitely new territory and we both learned a ton!” RELATED: How Kitchen Design Has Evolved Over the Last Century Tiffany says she tackled her kitchen reno with the same mindset she does for all of her projects, carefully considering how to use as many salvaged materials as possible in an attractive and appealing way. “That’s where pennies, red wagons, old wallpaper, a few buckets of cement, and bucket lids all come into play,” she said. “All of these materials became the building supplies for my new kitchen.” The shimmering new backsplash is clad in $30 worth of pennies while old bucket lids and scrap fabric were whipped into new cushions for Tiffany’s wooden stools. Three red wagons were transformed into a playful new minibar. Tiffany and Kat used a cement overlay combined with a natural coffee stain and food safe finish to refurbish her dated countertops. New appliances were sourced from a scratch and dent store, saving Tiffany 30-40% off of retail, and the old cabinets and old but still working appliances were sold through Craigslist. “I am loving my new kitchen and am proud of the fact that it was created from loads of love, sweat, and salvaged materials!” says Tiffany. Don’t forget to check out our full photo gallery for more of the fun details that can be found in Tiffany’s new kitchen. + Tiffany Threadgould + Kat Tingum

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Friends give their kitchen a green makeover filled with fun upcycled touches

Enter the Biodesign Competition to get your ideas in front of the X-Prize

August 17, 2016 by  
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Calling all future-forward architects and designers! Help ideate the latest X-Prize and win $1000 cash and publicity while you’re at it. The prestigious X-Prize Foundation is launching a new prize for regenerative building and we’ve joined forces with Organic Architect’s Eric Corey Freed to help launch an ideation competition . If you like to imagine the future of the built environment, you could have a shot at winning the $1000 cash prize and your work in front of the X-Prize foundation in the Biodesign Competition . Your work will also be showcased in front of millions of Inhabitat readers. Find out how to enter the competition below… The Fab Tree Hab living tree house concept by Mitchell Joachim, Javier Arbona and Lara Greden ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE > We already know how to build healthy buildings that generate their own energy , process their own waste and clean their own water , but how can we design buildings that heal themselves, ourselves, and the natural environment? Advances in synthetic biology, bio-printing, computational design, and material engineering are already shifting the way we build and the best results are those that have integrated the complex, elegant, and efficient designs of the natural world into the built environment. To explore these possibilities, the Biodesign Competition is seeking applicants with “ bold and innovative visions for the future of construction at the intersection of the physical, the digital, and the biological. ” Will buildings be grown instead of assembled ? What would our buildings be like if they could grow to accommodate changes in their inhabitants or environment? What emerging material has the most potential for a biodesigned future? Mushroom Tower at MoMA PS1 museum in New York City – grown entirely form fungus Visions for the following categories will be considered: A. Spaces for living – Single family home in the suburbs – Multi-family apartment in the city – Informal settlement or slums in the context of an emerging economy – In situ revitalization of abandoned buildings in the context of cities with declining population B. Spaces for learning or healing DEADLINE We will be accepting entries through our online entry form , here , until 11:59 PST on August 31, 2016. *Entrants need to submit their designs in JPEG format (under 1MB) through the user upload form, but please note that all finalists will be asked to provide high-res 11X17 PDFs. Any entrant who wants to be considered for this prize should save all work as high resolution, vector files. ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE >

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Enter the Biodesign Competition to get your ideas in front of the X-Prize

Airbnb launches nature-filled Tokyo office that feels like a beautiful cozy home

August 17, 2016 by  
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Located in the city’s busy Shinjuku district, Airbnb’s Tokyo office, like its other international offices, takes inspiration from real local Airbnb listings. Formerly a drab corporate environment, the newly renovated office boasts an airy and tranquil feel that was also informed by feedback and interaction with employees. “The main concept of this project was to recreate the feeling and vibe of a Tokyo neighbourhood,” said Makoto Tanijiri and Ai Yoshida of Suppose Design Office. “Instead of using simple walls, we laid out building-inspired volumes to articulate the space, dividing the various functions while keeping a continuity throughout the whole office .” Suppose Design Office collaborated with Airbnb’s in-house Environments Team to create the workspaces’ distinctly minimalist and Japanese character. Light-colored timber dominates the surfaces and live trees and foliage bring nature indoors. Staff members and visitors are immediately greeted by a double-height leafy atrium that serves as reception, but looks more like a modern cafe. The office then branches out to a variety of different rooms with diverse workspaces from communal worktables to private cubbies. Related: Airbnb’s Portland call center offers a beautiful and flexible work environment Japanese influences are most evident in the Engawa area, an elevated platform covered with tatami mats and cushions, allowing staff to sit or kneel on the ground and overlook cityscape views while working. Traditional tearooms also inspired the design for the office’s private Skype booths that are made from local white oak and rice paper film. + Suppose Design Office Via Dezeen

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Airbnb launches nature-filled Tokyo office that feels like a beautiful cozy home

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