Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home

December 27, 2018 by  
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When a client approached Vietnamese architecture firm Duc Vien LE for the design of their house in Da Nang, Vietnam, the architects knew early on that the region’s intense summers would prove a major challenge. Rather than rely on energy-intensive air conditioning, the architects mitigated the region’s extreme solar radiation with the addition of a west-facing solar screen that not only brings in cooling breezes, but also adds visual interest to the front of the house. Named the Filtered Wall House after the decorative screen, the dwelling also follows passive solar principles to optimize thermal comfort. Located in the central Vietnamese city of Hòa Quý, the Filtered Wall House spans a footprint of 125 square meters on a long and narrow site stretching east to west. Due to the limitations of the shape of the site, the architects made access to natural light and ventilation—particularly in the middle of the house—a design priority. To this end, the firm inserted a skylight above the stairwell, as well as a small atrium in the front of the house behind the west-facing “filtered wall”. “Creating a buffer space on the west side of the house is the main means of the design,” explains Duc Vien LE. “The west facade of the building is a wall with filtering function. It can block most of the sunlight while allowing cool wind to enter the inner space. The existence of the filtered wall and the buffer space greatly reduces the influence of solar radiation on the main space. In the facade design, the change from densely to sparely was designed according to different shading requirements. Different brick types, colors and compound mode are integrated to create a transitional and presentable architectural appearance.”   Related: Lego-like kindergarten sparks creativity with a playful brick facade Inside, the contemporary home features crisp white walls and an open-plan floor plan to maximize sight lines and a sense of spaciousness. The communal living areas are located on the ground floor, which comprises a living room in the front of the house that transitions to a reading room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and a rear garden. Two bedrooms, a family room and a prayer room are located upstairs. + Duc Vien LE Via ArchDaily Images via Duc Vien LE

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Solar screen brings beauty and heat relief to a Vietnam home

Sasaki to transform Shanghais Hongkou Stadium with a High Line-esque park

December 26, 2018 by  
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International disciplinary planning and design firm Sasaki has unveiled designs to transform China’s first professional soccer stadium into a sustainably minded mixed-use hub focused on health and wellness. Designed to stitch the Shanghai Hongkou Stadium back into the urban fabric, the proposal will reactivate the stadium as a destination even on non-game days while improving the expanded building’s energy efficiency. Key to the design intervention will be the addition of the Midline, an elevated park built along a light rail corridor, which will provide a green link between Hongkou’s university district in the north and the cultural and commercial districts to the south. Located on a major north-south green corridor, Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium is accessible via public transit yet suffers from lack of interest on non-game days and lack of connection to its urban surroundings. To reposition the stadium as the heart of a new mixed-use health and wellness hub, Sasaki plans to not only extend the lush landscape of the adjacent Luxun Park to the stadium grounds, but also add the elevated Midline, a recreational spine beneath the light rail tracks that provides pedestrian and bicycle access from the north and south to the stadium. In addition, new shops and restaurants on the street level will activate the stadium’s main plaza and podium. Moreover, the stadium, which was built in the 1990s, will be expanded to a total of 50,000 seats and nine levels to accommodate new programming such as a soccer museum, VIP clubs, community recreation facilities and a cantilevered restaurant with 360-degree views of the field. Rooftop gardens and outdoor concourses will be publicly accessible from the adjacent Luxun Park to attract the community year-round. Related: The 2018 Super Bowl stadium in Minnesota offsets 100% of its energy “By positioning the stadium as a community asset, its renovation reaches far beyond its original function,” reads Sasaki’s press release. “Many stadiums serve the single purpose of hosting sporting events, resulting in an empty building during non-game days and in the off-season. Hongkou Stadium reimagines the arena as a multi-functional complex that fulfills the demands of large events while also serving as a unique public space for all citizens.” The renovated stadium will also be optimized for energy efficiency and tap into passive ventilation strategies. Rainwater runoff will be harvested in underground cisterns and reused as irrigation. The stadium’s new smart glass facade can be digitally adjusted to minimize unwanted solar heat gain and used as a digital screen to broadcast events. + Sasaki Images via Sasaki

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Sasaki to transform Shanghais Hongkou Stadium with a High Line-esque park

The best eco-friendly resolutions for 2019

December 26, 2018 by  
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With the new year looming, resolutions are on everybody’s mind. That’s because the new year is all about new beginnings. Whether that means changing your diet, incorporating more exercise or focusing on continuing education, 2019 can be an amazing year of growth and discovery. While you formulate your list of new year’s resolutions, be sure to include a few goals focused on sustainability. We all share one planet, which means each person needs to do their part to make it last. Making small changes leads to huge results, so even if you start small, resolve to start. Here are a few eco-friendly resolutions to focus on while you enter 2019. Start a compost bin Composting creates a full-cycle process for making the most out of your food and paper products. Begin with a design for your compost bin. Consider the space you have available along with the layout of your yard. Composters work best in full sun since they yield the best results at high temperatures. It will take longer to break down compost on the shady north side of your home, but it will break down eventually nonetheless. Related: Austin passes law banning restaurants from throwing out food waste Compost bins can be purchased online or at your local garden center or home improvement store. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Resin or plastic compost bins will last longer, but are also petroleum-based, making them an enemy of the environment . Wood composters are much more eco-friendly although they will eventually show the wear of weather exposure. Better yet, don’t use a compost bin at all, but just create a loose pile. Regardless of the type you choose, make sure you can rotate the contents occasionally and that the compost receives water and heat. Fill your compost throughout the year with equal parts green (such as lawn clippings), brown (such as brown paper bags or small twigs) and organic food scraps. Not only does this reduce your food waste, but creates nutrient-rich soil for use in your indoor or outdoor garden . Vow to shop with reusable bags As cities and even entire states begin to ban the use of plastic bags, it’s the perfect time to get into the habit of bringing your own bags when you go shopping. Reusable shopping bags are a great way to reduce both plastic and paper bag consumption. Choose some favorites and keep them in your car. Just remember to return them to the car after bringing the groceries inside so you have them next time around. You can take your reusable bag resolution one step further with the purchase of washable produce bags to use as well. Install rain barrels Rain barrels are easy to install and use. Surf the internet or head to the local home improvement store for a rain diverter. This device is installed in the downspout of your gutter system and diverts a portion of the water into the nearby rain barrels. If you receive even moderate rain in your area, it’s easy to accumulate 50, 100, or more gallons of water during the wet months. Use that water during the summer for gardens, lawns, or animals and save on your water bill. Swap out shower and faucet heads The easiest resolutions are the tasks that you perform once and they provide ongoing benefits. With this in mind, take the time to install low-flow faucet and shower heads. By using air to provide a strong pressure, newer water-restricting heads make it so you barely miss the extra water while benefiting your budget and the environment. Eliminate meat one day each week It’s so well researched and documented these days that no one can argue the drastic effects that raising cattle and other livestock has on the environment. Raising meat is resource consumptive, in the amount of both water and land required. The good news is that even if you’re a blood-thirsty carnivore, small sacrifices can make a big difference. Eliminate meat from your diet one day each week. You might find it easier than you think. If you do, increase to two times per week. Each meatless meal means good things for nature . Avoid plastic Plastic is bad for the environment on every level. It requires huge amount of petroleum to produce and never breaks down, adding to the massive waste issues the world currently faces. Set a goal to do your part to avoid plastic as much as possible. It’s no easy task since it is everywhere we turn, but start by noticing the packaging on your frequent purchases. Buy bulk and bring your own containers. Purchase individual fruit instead of the pre-bagged variety. Bring your own produce and shopping bags to the store. Buy food in glass jars instead of plastic. Take your own cup to the coffee shop. Take your refillable water bottle everywhere. Buy tampons with cardboard applicators or move to a menstrual cup or washable pad. Ask the waitress to hold the plastic straw and bring your own reusable straw if you want one. Shop with companies that use environmentally-conscious packaging. Related: Over 200 nations commit to ending ocean plastic waste Avoid fast fashion Fast fashion is killing the planet. Defined by quick-passing trends, the cheap clothing reels consumers in. But the resources required to produce and dispose of all that clothing earns the industry the title of the world’s number one pollutant . Instead of subscribing to this season’s best that is forgotten a few months down the road, invest in a capsule wardrobe that incorporates interchangeable pieces that suit all your dress and casual wear needs. Buy seasonal and local Your purchasing decisions hold all the power. Use them wisely and make this year’s resolution to buy local as much as possible. Not only does this provide you with the best farm-fresh foods, but it reduces the transport emissions from those manufactured across the ocean to those made just down the road. Gift give the work of local artisans. Attend the farmer’s market. Buy honey, soap and jewelry from local vendors. Think about the journey each product makes and select those with the shortest travel time. Baby steps in your efforts make a huge difference, so remember that you don’t have to go zero waste all at once or give up your car in lieu of a bike. Although it’s great if you want to do those things, start by adding some achievable and sustainable goals to your 2019 resolutions and vow to practice them all year long. Via My Green Closet Images via 955169 , Mike Kenneally , Shutterstock

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Origami-inspired Aqualagon water park is a site-sensitive extension of the landscape

July 9, 2018 by  
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With their bright, multicolored slides and tubes, most water parks stick out like unsightly sore thumbs in the landscape—but that’s not the case for the site-sensitive Water Park Aqualagon in Villages Nature Paris Marne-la-Vallée, France. Designed by Paris-based Jacques Ferrier architecture , the enclosed water park features a folded and glazed design that takes inspiration from the Japanese art of origami and is largely informed by site conditions. Conceived as an extension of the forested landscape, Aqualagon features full-height glazing, lush greenery, and renewable systems including geothermal energy and water recycling. Spread out across 86,000 square feet next to a large body of water, the Water Park Aqualagon meets the High Quality Environment standard , a certification for green buildings in France. Site studies that mapped the direction of the winds and the path of the sun informed the position and layout of the water park’s multifaceted, glazed building. To make the most of cooling cross-breezes in summer and to protect against cold northeasterly winter winds, the aquatic park opens up towards the west and backs up to the forest. The orientation also optimizes sunlight in winter while minimizing solar gain in summer. The light-filled interior features water slides and multiple pools integrated into a naturalistic landscape of stone-covered terrain, living trees and waterfalls. Continuous outdoor terraces project from the building towards the lake; these walkways overlook stunning views of Villages Nature Paris Marne-la-Vallée. A transparent dome tops the water park and offers a remarkable space for visitors to swim while basking in views of the sky. Related: PHOTOS: Cacheuta Thermal Water Park is a summer escape wedged in Argentina’s Andes Mountains “Like an origami sculpture, our proposal for the aquatic park resembles an unfolding landscape, culminating at around 35 meters. It is a built landscape, rising into the sky,” explains Jacques Ferrier architecture. “The structure is clearly visible from the surrounding area – it becomes a point of reference and a symbol of Villages Nature.” + Jacques Ferrier architecture Images by Luc Boegly

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Origami-inspired Aqualagon water park is a site-sensitive extension of the landscape

Mecanoo unveils greenery-filled social housing for Kaohsiung

May 4, 2018 by  
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Hot on the heels of their recently completed National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Dutch firm Mecanoo unveiled their competition-winning social housing designs for the southern Taiwan city. The mixed-use complex will offer 234 units of housing, green space, and publicly accessible programming. Located between a new green corridor and an existing neighborhood along the railway, the project will kick off a larger urban redevelopment scheme in Kaohsiung . The 307,850-square-foot Kaohsiung social housing project comprises two buildings flanking a new green space. Housing units, which vary between 269 and 807 square feet, will cater to a wide variety of users from students and young families to the elderly and people with disabilities. The ground floors of both buildings will be zoned for commercial use to engage the surroundings. The massing of the buildings is optimized to reduce solar heat gain inside the apartments. Related: Mecanoo designs gorgeous green-roofed train station for Kaohsiung The tallest building on the east houses the majority of the apartments and is topped with community facilities while the shorter west tower includes more public-facing facilities such as a senior day-care center. “Distributed in several floors and connected by green terraces , the Sky Park works as a social hub open to the public, which brings together residents and the local community,” said Mecanoo of the greenery-filled complex. White stucco will be applied to the facade that’s partially infilled with green and white ceramic tiles—a departure from the local norm where entire facades are typically covered in tile. + Mecanoo Via Architect Magazine Images via Mecanoo

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Austin Maynard Architects restores a beach shack in their crusade against McMansions

February 6, 2017 by  
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Austin Maynard Architects is taking a stand against McMansions. Tired of seeing Australia’s handsome old shacks demolished to make way for less culturally interesting housing, the Australian architecture firm completed a beautiful renovation and addition to an old beach shack in the town of Lorne. The restored project, called the Dorman House, is a lovely celebration of the Australian beach shack vernacular with stunning ocean views and a modern and eco-friendly design. The Dorman House comprises two parts: the restoration of an old post-war beach shack that remains mostly unchanged, and the addition of a contemporary new extension. The clients, Kate and Grant, had asked Austin Maynard Architects to preserve the original shack and add an extension that would allow for clear and elevated ocean views without dominating or damaging the existing structure. Although the simplest solution would have been to bulldoze the existing shack and start anew, the architects and clients sought the more sustainable solution. “Modest, humble shacks are being replaced with incongruous and unnecessary McMansions ,” wrote the architects. “Increasingly we see a duplication of the suburban home where once stood the shack. Through this process we not only lose important parts of our built heritage, we also lose a significant part of our social and emotional diversity. We lose parts of ourselves. At Austin Maynard Architects we do our best to avoid the simple temptation of demolishing and replacing. Where extensions are required/desired, we aim to retain and respect the existing shack and its scale.” Related: Gorgeous solar-powered THAT House is an eco-friendly rebel “with just enough space” The new extension is an elevated timber box that sits atop the original shack and comprises an open-plan kitchen, dining, and living room accessed via a spiral staircase. The interior is lined with Silvertop Ash and opens up to gorgeous ocean views and breezes through full-height windows. Most of the glass faces north and all windows are double glazed with thermally separated frames, while solar shades are in place to minimize solar heat gain in summer. The exterior cladding will develop a gray patina over time. The structure directly below the timber box is clad in polycarbonate and is used as a light-filled bedroom. Recycled timber decking was used in the construction and locally sourced materials were also used wherever possible. + Austin Maynard Architects Images via Austin Maynard Architects

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Austin Maynard Architects restores a beach shack in their crusade against McMansions

Rammed earth walls form the core of this modern Australian home

December 12, 2016 by  
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Innovative, eco-friendly materials and contemporary design form the basis for Willow Grove, a modern home in the Australian farming community of the same name. Finnis Architects designed the small three-bedroom house for a couple that sought a slower pace of life away from city living. Rammed earth walls made from locally sourced materials serve as the focal point of the design, which comprises two wings that spread out and overlook views of the countryside. The rammed earth walls , which can be seen at the entrance, cut through the home and create a connection between the interior and exterior. The warm-toned and textured look of rammed earth creates a sharp contrast with the dark polished concrete floors, and that dichotomy is enhanced by a minimalist materials and color palette. The facade is clad in corrugated metal sheeting as a reference to the rural area’s corrugated country sheds. Related: 8 inexpensive earth homes almost anyone can afford The wedge-shaped entry framed by the angled rammed earth walls open up to two wings on either side. The west wing houses the open-plan living area, dining room, and kitchen. The wing to the east contains two guest bedrooms, a bathroom, laundry room, and a master suite. Large windows frame hillside views and let in natural light , while large overhanging eaves mitigate solar heat gain and accentuate the roofline’s winged shape. + Finnis Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Finnis Architects , by Nic Granleese

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Rammed earth walls form the core of this modern Australian home

Triptyque gives a 1970s office building an eco-friendly makeover in Brazil

October 10, 2016 by  
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Located within the heart of Rio de Janeiro’s business and economic district, the 85-meter-tall RB12 sports a new bioclimatic facade with zigzagging glazed panels and louvers that reduce solar heat gain but allow desired natural light in. Natural ventilation flows throughout the building. Plant-filled balconies punctuate the sculptural facade and aid in natural cooling. The landscaping is irrigated with harvested rainwater, which is also used to flush the toilets. Related: Bioclimatic Rio Branco 12 Tower to Set New Standards for Green Offices in Brazil “RB12 embodies an innovative new concept of sustainable development based on energy production, thus following the global trend of green-refurbishment, which consists in adapting and upgrading old buildings in order to align them with sustainable development criteria,” say the architects. “Among the environmental requirements that RB12 comprises are: thermal comfort, managing water consumption, optimizing natural light system, clean energy production through solar panels and fuel cells .” RB12 was redeveloped as part of Porto Maravilha, an area undergoing urban revitalization to improve living conditions in downtown Rio de Janeiro. + Triptyque Via ArchDaily Images via Triptyque

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Triptyque gives a 1970s office building an eco-friendly makeover in Brazil

Dynamic solar-shading screen wraps around a garden-filled home

July 5, 2016 by  
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Located on a highly visible corner site at the junction of two roads, the Kyeong Dok Jai house draws the eye with its beautiful asymmetric screen that wraps around the building like a white veil. The architects call the front facade an “eco-screen” that’s made of white aluminum pipes and helps mitigate solar heat gain and provides a noise buffer , privacy, and security. The pipe-screen’s curvaceous shape was inspired by Korean-style “cheoma” eaves, while the perforated concrete fence is a nod to the traditional stone fence. Related: Stunning South Korean Courtyard Home Balances Tradition With Modern Design The home interior is split into four levels and a roof, all of which are organized along the south axis and divided into three wedge-shaped spaces. “All the program of spaces of this house were laid out as the touring course that has dramatic interest of “strolling” through the inside and outside of this house, visually and spatially,” write the architects. Garden space and greenery are woven throughout the home and bathed in natural light . Residents also have access to a garden on the roof. + IROJE KHM Via ArchDaily Images via IROJE KHM , by Jong Oh Kim

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Dynamic solar-shading screen wraps around a garden-filled home

Curvaceous Corten steel office building beats the heat with solar-savvy design

June 30, 2016 by  
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The 4,905-square-foot office building is set on a small corner site abutting a road junction in full view to pedestrians and motorists. To mitigate the harsh solar rays from the south, the architects created a horseshoe-shaped building pointed towards the north that wraps around a cooling, north-facing pool. On the south side of the building, the architects left a void for a small grass courtyard shaded by the building. The Corten steel external walls extend far beyond the building’s internal volumes to serve as solar-shading fins. Related: The Courtyard House Battles Extreme Heat With Passive Strategies In India The office interior is accessed via an entrance on the northwest corner and is organized around a two-meter-wide passage runs the length of the outdoor pool. The various office spaces branch out from the passageway. Large north-facing glazing and other glazed incisions illuminate the workspaces with natural light and frame views of the cityscape and the oasis-like pool, but are shielded from harsh solar by the extended Corten steel walls. “The design creates an energy efficient building in response to the climate of the location and a distinct identity,” write the architects. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Sanjay Puri Architects , by Vinesh Gandhi

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