A sculptural office crowns the solar-powered Stellar building in India

March 17, 2020 by  
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Following four years of design and construction, Mumbai-based design studio Sanjay Puri Architects recently completed Stellar, a solar-powered commercial building in Ahmedabad, India. The building features a striking sculptural office on its northwest side. Constructed with rust-red colored aluminum sheets, the angular office is a focal point for not only the 110-meter-long building but also for the bustling intersection where the building is located. To mitigate the city’s temperatures, which rise to an excess of 95 degrees Fahrenheit for eight months of the year, Stellar features a series of terraces that deflect solar gain. Spanning an area of 18,580 square meters, the multistory building houses retail on its lower three levels and office spaces on the upper four levels. About one-third of the offices open onto landscaped terraces and are set back from the building perimeter to take advantage of solar shading. The terraces are connected to a rainwater harvesting tank that stores runoff for reuse. Solar panels have also been installed on the terraces to harness renewable energy . Related: Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the “smartest building advances in Germany” The crowning distinction of Stellar is the 500-square-meter office on the building’s northwest side. Surrounded by a spacious, north-facing outdoor terrace, the eye-catching office is wrapped in angular aluminum sheets strategically placed to protect the windows from the sun. Small triangular perforations along the sides of select panels also allow natural light to pass through into the office during the day and are backlit at night to give the office a beautiful, glowing effect. “This office space is deliberately designed to contrast with the rest of the building, creating an interesting juxtaposition of color, volume and geometry in addition to creating an individual identity based upon the brief,” the architects explained. “The simple rectilinear geometry with muted color tones and the complex angular geometry awash with color contrast to create a unique composition.” + Sanjay Puri Architects Photography by Abhishek Shah via Sanjay Puri Architects

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Northern Chinas largest bamboo pavilion covers nearly half an acre

March 17, 2020 by  
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After years of building bamboo houses across rural China, Italian architect Mauricio Cardenas Laverde completed his largest bamboo project yet — the Bamboo Eye pavilion, a 1,600-square-meter structure constructed entirely from 5,000 locally sourced moso bamboo poles. Completed last April for the 2019 International Horticultural Exhibition in Beijing, the new pavilion is the largest of its kind ever built in northern China, according to the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) . The massive pavilion was created to house programmatic activity while showcasing the architectural possibilities of bamboo in modern, low-carbon construction. Created to follow the INBAR Garden’s theme of “Bamboo and Rattan for Green Growth,” the Bamboo Eye Pavilion shows off the tensile strength of bamboo, which is greater than that of mild steel. China, which is home to over 6 million hectares of bamboo, has used bamboo for construction for thousands of years. Modern construction in the country, however, mainly depends on steel and concrete. In an effort to promote the use of bamboo for sustainable development, INBAR teamed up with Laverde to show how bamboo could replace steel and wood and thus reduce pressures on forest resources. Related: Turtle-inspired bamboo shelter contracts to half its size in case of extreme weather “We have to change the way we think about construction,” Laverde said. “If we used natural building materials in cities and changed our mindset, then it would be easy to rebuild every few decades without the huge cost of today.” The organic form of the Bamboo Eye pavilion is achieved with bamboo arches, which span 32 meters in length and 9 meters in height. The arches were bent and formed by fire baking, a process that turns the bamboo to a golden yellow and expands the material’s lifespan to 30 years. Lightweight yet strong, the truss arch structure is also sturdy enough to bear the weight of a green roof , which helps blend the building in with the nearby bamboo forest. The self-ventilating interior houses an auditorium and exhibition area. The Bamboo Pavilion was built for the International Horticultural Exhibition that was held from April to October 2019.  + Mauricio Cardenas Laverde Images via INBAR

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Northern Chinas largest bamboo pavilion covers nearly half an acre

Prefab Birdbox is the perfect retreat for nature-lovers

March 17, 2020 by  
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With a design that can only be described as a “bird box for humans,” this prefab dwelling from Norwegian studio Livit gets its inhabitants as close to nature as possible while still maintaining comfort and a sleek, minimalist style. With its first models utilized as vacation rentals in the Norwegian wilderness, overlooking the majestic Fauske region fjord and the Langeland snow-capped mountains, Birdbox is small and light enough to be placed in unique places with a minimal footprint. The prefab boxes come in two turn-key versions: Birdbox Mini measuring 6 by 10 feet and Birdbox Medi measuring 16.7 by 8 feet. The Birdbox Mini holds a bed and a small seating area while the Birdbox Medi features a bed, a desk, a larger seating area and more substantial windows. There is also an option to add a separate bathroom pod constructed with tinted one-way glass so that occupants can enjoy the view of the surrounding area in privacy while inside. Related: A pair of minimalist cabins is a serene retreat in a Portuguese forest Both models, however, put the most focus on the windows. The Mini’s circular windows and two smaller oval windows highlight the nature outside, and the Medi adds an additional two windows to give occupants more sweeping views. Birdbox can be lifted and installed with a helicopter for more challenging sites and has no need for maintenance, according to the lead designer, Torstein Aa. The resilient design can withstand extreme weather, and there is the option to add solar panels , which the company can provide as well. “Birdboxes will be located across the country where you get a new experience in every place you visit,” said Asbjørn Reksten Stigedal, CEO of Livit. “We are creating an offer where we can showcase our country from its best side where one can experience Norway through Birdbox.” + Livit Images via Livit

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Sculptural, energy-saving office boasts the smartest building advances in Germany

February 25, 2020 by  
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In the heart of Berlin, Danish architecture firm 3XN has recently completed Cube Berlin, a striking new office showcasing the latest advances in sustainability, digitization and design. Opened this month, Cube Berlin also serves as a new city landmark with its sculptural, reflective facade designed to engage the pedestrian realm at the historically significant site of Washingtonplatz. The building is expected to achieve DNGB Gold certification and is engineered with smart office technologies that learn and adapt to user behavior to optimize comfort and energy efficiency. Designed as a prismatic reinterpretation of the cube, the sculptural Cube Berlin measures 4.25 meters in all directions. Reflective glazing wraps around the exterior to mirror the surroundings and engage passersby while allowing natural light into the building without compromising privacy. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame stunning views of Berlin landmarks, and select operable openings let in natural ventilation. Solar coatings to the facade, described by the architects as an “osmotic skin,” along with external solar shading mitigate unwanted solar gain and ensure high energy savings. Related: 3XN unveils new, sustainable building for UNSW Sydney In addition to providing visual interest, the reflective prismatic facade also provides opportunities for outdoor terraces on all levels. Outdoor space has also been created on the roof — the “fifth facade” — that features a spacious rooftop terrace shared by office tenants. The office building comprises 10 floors of flexible, multi-tenant office space as well as a ground-floor food market and office lobby, underground parking, plant rooms, conference areas and a rooftop terrace.  As a “next generation smart building,” Cube Berlin allows for greater interactivity between users and the building operations. Building operational information is stored in a “digital brain” server that collects data on energy flow and consumption. Users can use an app to interact with the system by remotely controlling features such as access control, indoor heating and cooling, maintenance, energy supply, room and parking reservations, charging of electric cars and bicycles and more. “In this way, the building and its users enter into an interplay where both are learning from each other,” the architects explained. “The building learns to adjust to the preferences of its users, while the users can control and adapt the building’s settings according to their desires and needs.” + 3XN Photography by Adam Mørk via 3XN

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Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

May 16, 2018 by  
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When Arno Matis Architecture was tapped to help reshape the identity of Vancouver’s Cambie Street, they designed Aperture, a beautiful site-responsive residential development. The city-block-sized structure derives its name from its striking aperture-like openings with glass-and-wood veneer walls angled in response to each facade’s unique solar exposure. Built to LEED Gold specifications, Aperture maximizes passive shading and is topped with green roofs. Created using Arno Matis Architecture’s “Responsive Density Design” strategy, Aperture emphasizes “social porosity” and urban connections. In response to the site context, the 98,000-square-foot building steps down from two six-story mid-rise blocks located along a busy street down to four two-story villas more in scale to the single-family neighborhood in the north. Two courtyard axes bisect the development to allow for the penetration of natural light and mountain views. Related: LEED Gold UBC Aquatic Center takes an innovative approach to water recycling “Stratigraphic architectural themes echo the area’s mid-century modern architectural vocabulary,” wrote the architects. “ Cantilever decks and strong horizontal lines create a sense of lightness and lower the massing profile.” The angled walls that frame each aperture, made of mahogany veneer sandwiched between two encapsulated UV glass layers, lend the building a sense of warmth. The insulated glass also increases thermal resistance and reduces solar gain. + Arno Matis Architecture Images © Michael Elkan

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Aperture-like windows maximize shading in this stunning Vancouver residence

Circular school hides a kaleidoscope of color and geometry

March 30, 2017 by  
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Don’t be fooled by this Australian school’s staid appearance. A walk around to its main entrance reveals a surprising and dynamic kaleidoscope of color and geometry hidden at its heart. Designed by Australian architecture firm McBride Charles Ryan , the Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years & Science Center in Victoria is a multifunctional learning space that visually blends the school’s commitment to a well-rounded education and classical approach to learning with an embrace of the imagination and arts. McBride Charles Ryan made a name for themselves with their penchant for angular geometry and playful design, and the Ivanhoe Grammar Senior Years & Science Center is no exception. The project was recently announced winner of the WAN Color in Architecture Award 2016 and was chosen for its use of color as a key element throughout the design. The building’s dark facade and circular shape is dramatically contrasted with the angular geometry and colorful surfaces in the central courtyard. “The contrast so evident in this building’s language encapsulates the contemporary methodologies for a well-rounded education,” write the architects. “The circular form is classical, representing order, and the certainty of knowledge – the building’s inner world, with its expressive and complex mosaic of spaces, represents the uncertainty and complexity of modern life and scientific understanding, and the necessity of the qualities of wonder and imagination to see us through.” Related: Simple Edwardian House Bursts Into a Daylit Cloud in Australia The building facade is made up of vertical fins that provide solar shading and is heavily insulated and built of robust materials that need little maintenance. The landscaped inner courtyard and the building’s large openings in the roof and at the main entrance help blur the lines between indoor and outdoor space and bring in ample natural light. The classrooms and learning spaces are strategically placed to maximize access to daylight and natural ventilation while minimizing solar glare. + McBride Charles Ryan Images by John Gollings

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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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Vineyard House uses rammed earth to stay cool in the Portuguese heat

March 30, 2016 by  
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Old Belgian barn is transformed into a gorgeous contemporary home

February 16, 2016 by  
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Innovative sun-shading system tops Vancouver’s sweeping South Creek Landing building

November 2, 2015 by  
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