A solar-ready holiday home disappears into a Czech forest

April 13, 2021 by  
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When Czech architecture firm NEW HOW Architects was asked to design a holiday home in the Ore Mountains, it decided to craft a nature-inspired residence that would go against the trend of white-plaster houses in the area. Rather than design a house that stands out in the landscape, the architects opted for a darker facade so that the retreat — dubbed Weekend House Nové Hamry — would look “as if it has been swallowed up by the forest.” In addition to reducing the visual impact on the surroundings, the architects also aimed to minimize the structure’s environmental footprint. They installed connection points for solar panels and vertical wind turbines to help Weekend House Nové Hamry achieve energy self-sufficiency in the future. Completed this year, the Weekend House Nové Hamry takes inspiration from the surrounding spruce trees for its color palette and vertical form. “The design is based on the local nature and color, in which you can find all shades of gray,” the architects explained. “You can see gray in the shades of trees, in granite and basalt rocks, and even in the dark green needles and trunks of the local spruces, which are so typical of the forests of the Ore Mountains.” Related: This timber home weaves around pine trees for reduced site impact As a result, the architects wrapped the roof and most of the facade in durable, anthracite-colored aluminum cladding, which the firm said resembles oiled black wood. To manage heavy snow loads in winter, the angular home is topped with a steeply sloped roof. The architects likened the tall and asymmetrical form to a lookout tower and, inspired by that visual similarity, turned the topmost floor into a refuge with a studio, library and a square window that frames views of the treetops and sky. The sleeping areas, which accommodate up to 10 people, are located on the floor below. The ground floor is reserved for the living area, dining room and kitchen, all of which are arranged around a central wood-burning stove. Unlike the dark facade, the interiors are lined with light-toned timber and OSB panels. The load-bearing structure is constructed from cross-laminated timber panels. Although Weekend House Nové Hamry is currently used as a creative retreat, the clients plan to inhabit the home year-round in the future and will eventually power it entirely with wind and solar energy. + NEW HOW Architects Photography by Petr Polák via NEW HOW Architects

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Miami Beach Aquatic Center and Park will include 3 acres of native landscaping

March 30, 2021 by  
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Architectural firm Brooks + Scarpa recently unveiled its design concept for the new Miami Beach Aquatic Center and Park. Among two pools and thousands of square feet worth of retail and community space, the project will highlight local plants and trees with native landscaping. The project is one of three finalists for the new community area in Florida . The community park will span three acres and will protect existing trees while adding a plethora of native plants to create its own microclimate. Additionally, the building’s green roof planters will harvest and treat stormwater, and all water runoff from the site will be directed to a system that will allow it to be reused for irrigation. Related: Serpentine roof tops a solar-powered community center in Western Sydney In a unique ecological setting like Florida, including native plants in landscape designers is an easy choice. Local plants are already adapted to the local climate and soil conditions and often do not require pesticides or as much irrigation (helping to prevent erosion). Plus, they are important for local pollinators like bees and hummingbirds. In addition to the green planters, the building’s roof also features solar panels to provide an alternative energy source during peak electricity hours. Located just a block from the beach, the structure’s ocean-facing terraces provide sweeping views for community members to enjoy. There is a 50-meter competition pool and a 25-meter multipurpose pool as well as a fitness center to promote healthy lifestyles. The architects hope that the center can become a “Community Living Room” for the local North Beach area, providing a central gathering space in a district that is already embracing walkability. There are spots to unwind but equal space to socialize with friends or shop thanks to the 10,000 square feet of retail. A 7,500-square-foot branch library welcomes students and community members to relax and learn. Tying the aquatic center and park together will be the parking lot, which is stacked to reduce its footprint and provide direct access to the lush green space. + Brooks + Scarpa Via ArchDaily   Images via Brooks + Scarpa

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Miami Beach Aquatic Center and Park will include 3 acres of native landscaping

Thinking Huts and Studio Mortazavi plan a 3D-printed school in Madagascar

March 16, 2021 by  
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International architectural firm Studio Mortazavi has teamed up with Colorado-based nonprofit Thinking Huts to propose designs for the world’s first 3D-printed school to be located in southern Madagascar . Developed to improve access to education in remote and impoverished areas, the modular concept taps into 3D printing for its low-carbon benefits and ability to shorten construction time from months to a matter of days. The design team, which has also partnered with Finland-based 3D technology company Hyperion Robotics and local Madagascar university EMIT, hopes to break ground on the pilot project in 2021. According to UNESCO, over 260 million children around the world lack access to education — a staggering number that includes over half of Madagascar’s 1.3 million primary-age children, who are not enrolled in school due to classroom overcrowding. As a result, Thinking Huts and Studio Mortazavi chose southern Madagascar for the pilot site, not only because of the pressing need for more educational infrastructure but also because of the country’s economic growth potential, political stability and optimal conditions for solar harvesting. Related: BIG unveils sustainable, 3D-printed lunar igloos for Moon exploration The 3D-printed pilot school will follow a low-cost modular design for scalability and adaptability. Inspired by a beehive, each wedge-shaped module will be printed from clay with natural pigments from the local landscape, then joined together with other units into a variety of configurations. Each module can be used as a standalone classroom that accommodates 20 children with space for a library, reading area, whiteboard desks and chairs, two individual toilets, a shared sink and storage. The modules can also be easily adapted for other uses such as a dance studio, woodworking shop and even housing. The eco-minded prototype project is expected to feature a vertical garden on the outside of its 3D-printed walls as well as rooftop solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system. “We are thrilled to be working with Studio Mortazavi who is at the forefront of design and innovation, forming a strong partnership that values sustainability within the construction industry as we seek to increase access to education via 3D-printed schools,” said Maggie Grout, founder of Thinking Huts. “We believe education is the vital catalyst to solving global issues ranging from gender inequality to poverty; achievable through local partnerships, we are building a future where communities have the necessary infrastructure to ensure that education is accessible to all.” Once the prototype project is complete, Thinking Huts hopes to build three additional schools with its materials partner LafargeHolcim in Madagascar’s Ibity. + Thinking Huts Images via Thinking Huts

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Thinking Huts and Studio Mortazavi plan a 3D-printed school in Madagascar

Flexible prefab cabin wins Volume Zeros 2020 Tiny House competition

March 8, 2021 by  
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Mumbai-based architecture competition platform Volume Zero has announced the winners of the 2020 Tiny House Architecture Competition, a call for entries that celebrate sustainability and individuality through innovative design. A jury of international architects — including jurors from U.S.-based Desai Chia Architecture and Norway’s Saunders Architecture — awarded three flexible tiny house concepts with $4,000 in total prize money and also selected 10 entries as honorable mentions.  Spanish designer Jorge Cobo won first place in the competition with his entry, A Forest for Rest, a flexible prefab cabin with a tubular steel frame that can be suspended from trees or set on light foundations. Lined with timber slats, the 19.3-square-meter tiny house fits an open-plan living space with a separated bathroom on the ground floor along with an adaptable sleeping space that accommodates up to three people on the upper floor. The prefabricated and customizable home can also be equipped with a variety of sustainable technologies, from solar panels and rainwater reuse systems to green roofs and a ground-coupled heat exchanger. Related: The top 7 amazing tiny homes we’ve seen this year French duo Dylan Morel and Dorian Bernard took second place with the Ecottage, a charming, gabled, prefab tiny home designed to operate off of the grid . Topped with solar panels and equipped with a domestic rainwater harvesting system, the adaptable unit was created to operate independently in both urban and rural settings. Plywood was selected as the main construction material for its carbon-sequestering benefits, low cost and availability. The multifunctional interior includes a ground-floor living space and a mezzanine sleeping area. American designer Tak Ying Chan won third place with Off the Walls, a concept for sheltering people experiencing homelessness in New York City’s Bushwick neighborhood. Designed with recycled materials and a painted timber structural frame, the low-cost build integrates multifunctional furnishings to make the most of its small footprint. The modular, shed-roofed units can also be decorated with street art and murals. + 2020 Tiny House Architecture Competition Images via Volume Zero

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Flexible prefab cabin wins Volume Zeros 2020 Tiny House competition

A skyscraper will purify Shenzhens air with aquaponic gardens

February 26, 2021 by  
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Zaha Hadid Architects has been crowned a competition winner for its proposed design of Tower C at Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, a planned business and financial center that will serve the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. Informed by 3D-modeling tools, the skyscraper features a futuristic, energy-efficient design with terraced levels, dramatic curves and expansive glazing. The project targets high-performance energy standards with environmentally friendly elements such as water collection and recycling as well as aquaponic gardens to help purify the air. Located within a global technology hub, the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base will accommodate 300,000 employees every day and include residential developments, a transportation center, venues for international conferences, exhibitions, cultural and art programming and a landscaping plan with native grasslands and coastal wetlands. Tower C, which will be located at the intersection of the Shenzhen’s planned north-south green axis and the east-west urban corridor, will serve as a “multidimensional vertical city” housing a mix of programming including offices, retail, dining, entertainment amenities, a hotel, convention center and a variety of cultural facilities. The building will be located above a subterranean public transport interchange served by the expanding Shenzhen Metro network. Related: ZHA unveils a low-carbon Shenzhen Science and Technology Museum Taking inspiration from the adjacent park and plazas, the architects have crafted Tower C as an extension of the landscape with a terraced podium that supports two towers with heights of nearly 400 meters. Double-insulated glazing fitted with solar shades will wrap around the building. To reduce energy use, the building will be equipped with high-efficiency equipment and automated indoor environmental controls. Solar photovoltaic panels and a water recycling system will further reduce resource consumption. For enhanced health and wellness, low-VOC materials will be installed throughout the interior while outdoor aquaponic gardens grown on every terraced level will serve as a protective biological filter against air contaminants. The architects noted, “The design of Tower C integrates the city and nature within its central green axis with the transit orientated development (TOD) of Shenzhen’s new spine, creating a ‘superscape’ that will become a tower of the future within the Super Headquarters Base.” + Zaha Hadid Architects Images via Brick Visual

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ZHA unveils solar-powered student residences for HKUST

February 18, 2021 by  
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In response to an urgent demand for more student housing at its Clear Water Bay campus, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has tapped Zaha Hadid Architects and local architecture firm Leigh & Orange to design the university’s new residence halls that will house more than 1,500 students once complete in 2023. The student housing buildings also incorporate sustainable design features in line with the university’s pledge to transition the Clear Water Bay campus to carbon-neutral operations. In addition to implementing rooftop solar and high-performance insulation, the architects will optimize the residential facilities’ energy-efficient operations with digital design tools, including Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D simulations. Inspired by the university’s mission to solve pressing global issues with technology and innovation, the architects have harnessed the power of digital design tools to optimize the design across multiple site parameters, including terrain, solar radiation, sight lines and soil considerations. As a result, the new residences will be strategically integrated into a steep, sloping site with a hexagonal configuration that embraces the natural landscape. The digital tools will also ensure passive solar considerations, proper material selection and efficient construction strategies to minimize time and waste. Related: ZHA’s sculptural “urban oasis” in Hong Kong to be LEED Platinum The 35,500-square-meter HKUST residence halls will comprise three differing clusters that all include communal living areas and rooms that face open spaces. The “Y” cluster apartments will accommodate 27 students; the “V” cluster will house 36 students; and the “Linear” cluster will offer collective housing for 18 students. The residences will be connected via a rooftop walkway — the main circulation route connecting to the academic blocks in the north — that will include shaded gathering spaces and photovoltaic arrays . To protect against Hong Kong’s intense sunlight, the buildings will be wrapped in high-performance, prefabricated facade units fitted with double-glazed windows and external solar shading fins. + Zaha Hadid Architects + Leigh & Orange Images via Visual Brick

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Stefano Boeri Architetti designs prefab COVID-19 vaccination centers for Italy

January 15, 2021 by  
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Stefano Boeri Architetti — the Milan-based architecture firm best known for the Vertical Forest skyscrapers — has partnered with a team of consultants to design and develop the architectural and communication concepts for Italy’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign. All aspects of the project, which was completed free of charge, are united by a floral logo of a pink primrose and the motto “With a flower, Italy comes back to life.” The campaign also includes the design of solar-powered, prefabricated pavilions that are designed to pop up with speed across Italy’s squares and public spaces to serve as vaccination distribution centers.  The COVID-19 vaccination campaign was commissioned by Domenico Arcuri, the Italian Special Commissioner for the COVID-19 emergency. Arcuri unveiled the conceptual designs to the public in mid-December. In addition to the designs of a campaign logo and temporary prefabricated pavilions, the project also includes proposals for informational totems and communications strategies for combating vaccine skepticism. Related: Modular Emergency Hospital 19 pops up in Italy in just 3 months “With the image of a springtime flower, we wanted to create an architecture that would convey a symbol of serenity and regeneration,” Stefano Boeri said in a press release. “Getting vaccinated will be an act of civic responsibility, love for others and the rediscovery of life. If this virus has locked us up in hospitals and homes, the vaccine will bring us back into contact with life and the nature that surrounds us.” Circular, prefabricated pavilions would be set up in public places to administer the vaccine; these pavilions are designed for easy dismantling and reassembly. Each timber-framed structure would be wrapped in textiles made of different recyclable, naturally biodegradable and water-resistant materials. Self-supporting fabric partitions would also be used to organize the interior. The circular roof, which would feature a large-scale floral logo, would also be topped with enough photovoltaic panels to generate all of the building’s electricity needs. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Stefano Boeri Architetti designs prefab COVID-19 vaccination centers for Italy

Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

November 17, 2020 by  
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The Gare Maritime railway station in Brussels has seen a huge transformation. The building, formerly one of Europe’s largest railway stations for goods, has been renovated into a new city district shopping and event development made of cross-laminated timber. Reimagined as a multi-purpose public space for companies and events, the building is covered entirely in  wood  and highlights sustainable architectural practices such as solar energy and rainwater collection systems. According to the architects at Neutelings Riedijk, the structure is the largest  cross-laminated timber  project in Europe. Architects added a series of 12 new building volumes to accommodate a new program of 45,000 square meters. Along with the existing halls, roofs and side aisles, the new design creates a structure that mimics a small city with streets and parks. Related: Sweden’s tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2 The choice of wood came down to sustainability and weight, as a concrete construction would have been five times heavier. Cross-laminated timber with a facade finishing in oak offered the perfect solution to create a prefabricated and dry construction method with shorter building time. As a result, the design features demountable connections and modular wooden building elements to promote sustainability. The central space is reserved for public events and contains a green walking boulevard on both sides. Routes measure 16 meters wide, giving pedestrians plenty of room to enjoy the spacious inner garden complete with a hundred trees. Overall, the space includes a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: woodland, flowers, grass and fragrance. As Brussels enjoys a Mediterranean climate, designers chose plants that adapt to the specific growing conditions. The Gare Maritime also remains completely energy neutral and fossil-free thanks to glass facades and solar cells, with a total area of 17,000 square meters of roof space dedicated to  solar panels . The building uses geothermal energy and a rainwater collection system to water the massive gardens. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Via ArchDaily Photo: Filip Dujardin/Sarah Blee/Tim Fisher | © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

November 17, 2020 by  
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The Gare Maritime railway station in Brussels has seen a huge transformation. The building, formerly one of Europe’s largest railway stations for goods, has been renovated into a new city district shopping and event development made of cross-laminated timber. Reimagined as a multi-purpose public space for companies and events, the building is covered entirely in  wood  and highlights sustainable architectural practices such as solar energy and rainwater collection systems. According to the architects at Neutelings Riedijk, the structure is the largest  cross-laminated timber  project in Europe. Architects added a series of 12 new building volumes to accommodate a new program of 45,000 square meters. Along with the existing halls, roofs and side aisles, the new design creates a structure that mimics a small city with streets and parks. Related: Sweden’s tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2 The choice of wood came down to sustainability and weight, as a concrete construction would have been five times heavier. Cross-laminated timber with a facade finishing in oak offered the perfect solution to create a prefabricated and dry construction method with shorter building time. As a result, the design features demountable connections and modular wooden building elements to promote sustainability. The central space is reserved for public events and contains a green walking boulevard on both sides. Routes measure 16 meters wide, giving pedestrians plenty of room to enjoy the spacious inner garden complete with a hundred trees. Overall, the space includes a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: woodland, flowers, grass and fragrance. As Brussels enjoys a Mediterranean climate, designers chose plants that adapt to the specific growing conditions. The Gare Maritime also remains completely energy neutral and fossil-free thanks to glass facades and solar cells, with a total area of 17,000 square meters of roof space dedicated to  solar panels . The building uses geothermal energy and a rainwater collection system to water the massive gardens. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Via ArchDaily Photo: Filip Dujardin/Sarah Blee/Tim Fisher | © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

Brussels train station transformed into wooden shopping and event center

November 17, 2020 by  
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The Gare Maritime railway station in Brussels has seen a huge transformation. The building, formerly one of Europe’s largest railway stations for goods, has been renovated into a new city district shopping and event development made of cross-laminated timber. Reimagined as a multi-purpose public space for companies and events, the building is covered entirely in  wood  and highlights sustainable architectural practices such as solar energy and rainwater collection systems. According to the architects at Neutelings Riedijk, the structure is the largest  cross-laminated timber  project in Europe. Architects added a series of 12 new building volumes to accommodate a new program of 45,000 square meters. Along with the existing halls, roofs and side aisles, the new design creates a structure that mimics a small city with streets and parks. Related: Sweden’s tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2 The choice of wood came down to sustainability and weight, as a concrete construction would have been five times heavier. Cross-laminated timber with a facade finishing in oak offered the perfect solution to create a prefabricated and dry construction method with shorter building time. As a result, the design features demountable connections and modular wooden building elements to promote sustainability. The central space is reserved for public events and contains a green walking boulevard on both sides. Routes measure 16 meters wide, giving pedestrians plenty of room to enjoy the spacious inner garden complete with a hundred trees. Overall, the space includes a total of 10 gardens based on four themes: woodland, flowers, grass and fragrance. As Brussels enjoys a Mediterranean climate, designers chose plants that adapt to the specific growing conditions. The Gare Maritime also remains completely energy neutral and fossil-free thanks to glass facades and solar cells, with a total area of 17,000 square meters of roof space dedicated to  solar panels . The building uses geothermal energy and a rainwater collection system to water the massive gardens. + Neutelings Riedijk Architects Via ArchDaily Photo: Filip Dujardin/Sarah Blee/Tim Fisher | © Neutelings Riedijk Architects

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