The Nature Conservancys Oregon HQ gets a green renovation

April 8, 2020 by  
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Portland-based LEVER Architecture has breathed new life into The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters with a LEED Gold-targeted renovation. Completed in 2019, the refreshed headquarters has received a much-needed facelift constructed from sustainably harvested materials as well as a new addition topped with a roof garden. Beautiful and sustainable, the addition is also one of the first buildings in the nation to be built of domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Built in the 1970s, The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters was formerly defined by dark and introverted offices as well as a lack of sizable meeting and event space. To better meet the needs of the highly collaborative organization, LEVER Architecture expanded the building footprint to 15,000 square feet and introduced new open-plan layouts, meeting rooms of varying sizes and a staff cafe and lounge. The Nature Conservancy’s mission of environmental stewardship has also been proudly showcased through updates to the exterior facade and landscaping. Related: Metal-clad Treehouse for “no-commute lifestyles” mimics Portland’s forests The new landscaping that surrounds the building on all sides evokes three types of habitats across Oregon: the Rowena Plateau, Cascade-Siskiyou and forests of western hemlock and cedar. The connection to nature is strengthened by the use of juniper and cedar siding, materials that were sustainably harvested from The Nature Conservancy’s conservation sites. The weathering steel that wraps around the upper portions of the new addition and main building will develop a handsome patina over time to further blend the building into its surroundings. In addition to a sustainable renovation and expansion, the architects have introduced new energy-saving and -generating systems. New rooftop solar panels on the main building produce 25% of the headquarters’ energy needs, while efficient fixtures and building systems reduce electric consumption by 54% and water consumption by 44%. All stormwater is captured and managed on-site. Low-tech passive strategies, such as daylighting and operable windows for natural ventilation, also help cut down the building’s energy demands. + LEVER Architecture Photos by Jeremy Bittermann and Lara Swimmer via LEVER Architecture

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The Nature Conservancys Oregon HQ gets a green renovation

Solar-powered innovation center targets LEED Gold in Toronto

April 8, 2020 by  
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Sustainability, indigenous culture and contemporary design come together in Perkins and Will’s design for the new $85 million Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) at Seneca College’s Newnham Campus. Created in collaboration with the First Peoples@Seneca Office, the LEED Gold-targeted building features indigenous-led design and services, such as counseling and financial aid, as part of Seneca’s commitment to the Indigenous Education Protocol. In addition to cultural responsiveness, CITE is home to state-of-the-art engineering and robotics labs as well as an entrepreneurial incubator for students and industry leaders. Located on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the 274,000-square-foot CITE building integrates messaging about indigenous teachings and history throughout, from the punctuated terracotta panels lining the facade that reference Anishinaabe birchbark ‘memory chests’ to the vibrant, indigenous-inspired interior artwork. The relationship between these Indigenous stories with the building’s academic programs are visualized in eight graphic murals created in collaboration with design firm Bruce Mau Design that include a hoop dance, a pow wow, DNA sequencing and a map of the Internet. Related: Perkins + Will’s KTTC building blends beauty and sustainability in Ontario To achieve LEED Gold standards, Perkins and Will wrapped the building in glass to promote reliance on natural light rather than artificial sources. The facade’s punctuated terracotta boxes as well as the south-facing structural colonnade — held up by 13 columns representative of the 13 moons of the lunar cycle — help deflect unwanted solar gain. CITE also features a building integrated solar array, stormwater management cisterns, a biodiverse landscape design, locally sourced, recycled materials wherever possible and increased use of FSC-certified wood finishes for lowered embodied carbon. “CITE presented the perfect opportunity to show how Indigenous knowledge can guide post-secondary education. To provide a more sustainable vision for future innovation, we paired themes like the Internet, space exploration and coding with Indigenous knowledge spanning seven generations,” said Andrew Frontini, principal and design director at Perkins and Will’s Toronto studio. “We organized the structural order of the building elements of the building to support these theme. As you walk through CITE, you encounter overlapping Indigenous and technological stories that initially might speak to different audiences, but over time our hope is that they merge together as one.” + Perkins and Will Images by doublespace photography

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Cabin-like tiny home insulated with hemp, cotton and linen

March 18, 2020 by  
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French design firm,  Tiny House Baluchon  has just unveiled a beautiful  tiny home on wheels  that screams cabin charm. Clad in a warm red cedar exterior, the Mogote is topped with a cool azure blue aluminum roof. The interior space is kept nice and toasty thanks to its natural insulation, made of cotton, linen and hemp. Just under 20 feet long, the gorgeous  tiny home on wheels has two glass doors that lead into the interior. The living space is light and airy, with lightly-hued spruce panels. Exposed wooden beams add a strong cabin vibe throughout the main space. Related: This tiny farmhouse features a quaint reading nook The sliding glass doors open up to the main living area, which has enough space for a fold-out sofa that sleeps two. Next to the sofa is a spruce and oak kitchen that is fully equipped for whipping up some tasty meals. Multiple shelves and cabinetry help keep the space clutter-free. Across from the kitchen, a dinette set comfortably seats three people and can be  folded down  when not in use. Also located on the bottom floor is the bathroom, which is equipped with a stand-up shower,  dry toilet  and a small cabinet with a small black sink. For such a tiny space, the bathroom also boasts some enviable storage. The design’s dual-pitched roofs were a strategic decision to provide a large  sleeping loft  for the Mogote. Accessed by a ladder that can be positioned flat to save space, the bedroom has plenty of room for a double bed. Additionally, the extended mezzanine space was used to install two large custom-made bookcases, that, once again, help keep the compact space neat and tidy. + Tiny House Baluchon Via New Atlas Images via Tiny House Baluchon

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Cabin-like tiny home insulated with hemp, cotton and linen

An old mall becomes an urban lagoon and public square in central Tainan

March 18, 2020 by  
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In downtown Tainan, Taiwan, MVRDV has transformed a former shopping mall into the Tainan Spring, an urban lagoon and park. Commissioned by the city government as part of an urban revitalization masterplan, the adaptive reuse project not only provides a new public space that reconnects residents with nature, but also sets an inspiring example for how defunct malls can be given new, sustainable lives. Created as part of a masterplan to rejuvenate a “T-Axis” to the East of the Tainan Canal, the Tainan Spring project includes the transformation of the former China Town Mall as well as the beautification of a kilometer-long stretch of the city’s Haian Road, now redesigned to reduce traffic and improve pedestrian access . In replacing the old mall, the architects have “meticulously recycled” the building and turned the mall’s underground parking level into a sunken public plaza with an urban pool, planting beds, playgrounds, gathering spaces and a stage for performances. A glass floor exposes part of the structure of the second basement level below to connect visitors to the history of the site.  Related: MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof “In Tainan Spring, people can bathe in the overgrown remains of a shopping mall. Children will soon be swimming in the ruins of the past — how fantastic is that?” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “Inspired by the history of the city, both the original jungle and the water were important sources of inspiration. Tainan is a very grey city. With the reintroduction of the jungle to every place that was possible, the city is reintegrating into the surrounding landscape. That the reintroduction of greenery was an important thread in our master plan can be seen in the planting areas on Haian Road. We mixed local plant species so that they mimic the natural landscape east of Tainan. I think the city will benefit greatly from this.” In two to three years, the newly planted beds will grow into a lush garden comprising native trees, shrubs and grasses to form a tropical jungle-like environment that will help offset the urban heat island effect . Visitors can also find relief from Tainan’s tropical climate in the urban pool and mist sprayers in the summer. The pool’s water level will rise and fall in response to the rainy and dry seasons.  + MVRDV Photography by Daria Scagliola via MVRDV

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An old mall becomes an urban lagoon and public square in central Tainan

1850s barn in Italy becomes a modern, sustainable family home

March 4, 2020 by  
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Located at the foot of UNESCO World Heritage site Alpe di Siusi in the Italian province of South Tyrol, Messner House represents adaptive reuse at its finest. The project was organized by Italian architecture firm noa* (Network of Architecture), who was adamant about respecting the surrounding area as well as the essence of the original structure that dated back to 1850. From the exterior of the structure, Messner House appears to mimic the outline of the original barn with a framework supported by high wooden columns. The architects mirrored the traditional building style of the surrounding village, using a stone foundation with a wooden gable roof and wooden trellis. To accommodate more natural light, the entire southern facade is made of glass, with light filtered by an external wooden grid positioned several yards away. The project focuses on minimizing energy consumption and its footprint with Klimahaus B certification and certified timber construction. Related: A midcentury barn is thoughtfully reclaimed for a family retreat in California The interior design strives to keep local architectural traditions alive by using materials such as wood and stone, while at the same time introducing a contemporary style. Organic colors such as clay and sea-blue are utilized in the floor tiles, and furniture details incorporate brass and steel. The ground floor spreads out into a common area meant for social and family interaction, while the rest of the house works upward in a vertical fashion, with rooms positioned at different heights in a “hanging boxes” style. This contemporary room division was inspired by the nearby alpine environment, with the interconnecting stairs and hallways of the house working as an artificial mountain path. As one continues higher toward the top floor of the house, the level of privacy increases. A reading lounge rests just under the highest floor and features an antique majolica stove taken from the original barn structure. The top floor includes a private glass sauna with panoramic views of the Santner Mountains to the south. + noa* Photography by Alex Filz via noa*

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1850s barn in Italy becomes a modern, sustainable family home

This aluminum water bottle is a reusable alternative to single-use plastic

February 25, 2020 by  
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Pathwater, based out of northern California, began with a Christmas Eve run to a grocery store, where three friends lamented about the lack of truly sustainable water bottle options. So they rented a space, added two like-minded partners and got down to the business of providing water in something other than plastic . The result is a sleek, aluminum water bottle that keeps you hydrated, even when you are on the go. The team knew there were already alternatives to single-use plastic on the market, such as paper-based products. But even though paper is a more eco-friendly option to petroleum-based plastic, it is still resource-intensive and ends up in the landfill or littering beaches. Related: Coca-Cola to offer Dasani water in aluminum cans and bottles to reduce plastic waste The team brainstormed around the idea of widely popular, refillable metal water bottles. From there, they settled on a sturdy, aluminum bottle with a wide-mouth, twist-off lid that is easy to refill. The bottle is filled with locally sourced water purified through a seven-step reverse-osmosis process.  Pathwater is readily available in the northern California region and is continuing to grow in popularity. It can be found online through Amazon and in a growing number of stores and hotel snack centers — more than 4,000 to date. When you find a bottle of Pathwater, you will also discover it is fairly priced at $2.19 for a 25-ounce bottle that is both reusable and recyclable. It makes it easy to use sustainable options, even if you might be traveling and forgot to pack a reusable vessel. The future could see Pathwater bottles in vending machines and on store shelves instead of plastic bottles. In addition to taking the steps to create a viable alternative to single-use plastic, the team is dedicated to fighting plastic pollution by regularly volunteering for and partnering with beach clean-up organizations. The company has launched the PATHWATER Student Ambassador Program (PSA) to inspire and educate youth. The BAN Single-Use Plastic Bottles at Schools initiative also inspires the next generation to carry the torch in the fight against single-use plastic. + Pathwater Images via Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat

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This aluminum water bottle is a reusable alternative to single-use plastic

Home on a sloped ravine uses natural materials to blend into the landscape

February 20, 2020 by  
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Built by Chicago-based firm Wheeler Kearns Architects , the Ravine House is a beautiful home that sits tucked into a natural forest setting just outside of Highland Park, Illinois. Working directly with the nature-loving homeowners, the architects strategically focused on blending the minimalist home, which was built with natural materials , into the idyllic surroundings while reducing its impact as much as possible. The Ravine House comes in at more than 4,500 square feet across a single-story, rectangular volume. Sitting adjacent to a deep ravine, the home’s layout was designed to include the native vegetation that covers the area.  In fact, one corner of the volume is “broken” and set apart in order to create an entrance courtyard, where the vegetation is first incorporated into the living space. The courtyard’s local stones and birch trees pay homage to the homeowners’ love of nature. Related: The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles In addition to incorporating the native plants and trees into the design, the home uses a variety of natural materials to blend into its natural forest backdrop. The exterior cladding is comprised of dark metal siding and a vertical rain screen made out of panels of American Black Locust, which was chosen for its durability. On the interior, walls of American Walnut and continuous white oak floors run throughout the living space. Large expanses of glass wrap around the Ravine House, further blending the exterior with the interior. A minimalist, yet cozy, interior design deftly puts the focus on the surrounding views while providing a comfortable living area for the family. In addition to the various uses of wood for a more sustainable design, protecting the landscape was also an essential element to the Ravine House project. During the construction process, the homeowners began to restore the adjacent ravine, which was being damaged by invasive species. They planted no-mow meadows to surround the home as well as multiple beds of vegetable gardens. + Wheeler Kearns Architects Photography by Tom Rossiter via Wheeler Kearns Architects

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Home on a sloped ravine uses natural materials to blend into the landscape

Century-old building is reborn as a LEED Platinum home in San Francisco

February 6, 2020 by  
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When architect Jonathan Feldman of Feldman Architecture began remodeling his home in San Francisco in the early 2010s, the growing green building movement in the city inspired him to turn his residence — dubbed ‘The Farm’ after its overgrown backyard — into a testing ground and laboratory for sustainable design. From installing renewable energy systems to sourcing sustainable materials, his pursuit of green, net-zero energy standards earned the project LEED Platinum certification. Purchased with the intent of green renovation, the 1905 historic home that Feldman and his wife, Lisa Lougee, renovated was rebuilt from the inside out to merge the building’s classic Edwardian features with more contemporary elements. Critical to the project’s success was the addition of new windows and skylights as well as an open-floor plan to undo the home’s closed-off character. The basement was also transformed to include a usable backyard and deck. Related: Green-roofed San Francisco townhouse features an indoor swing In pursuit of LEED Platinum certification, Feldman worked with the San Francisco building department to allow an unprecedented type of water system in the city: a water recycling system that includes both rainwater and gray water harvesting with tanks tucked below the rear deck. A heat recovery ventilation system pumps fresh air into the home with minimal energy loss, while solar thermal panels partially heat the mechanical system. All materials are sustainably sourced and non-toxic. Water and electricity monitoring can be accessed via panels throughout the home or smartphone technology. “The key to achieving LEED Platinum or any kind of green standard is to identify and commit early on to the features of interest,” said Feldman, who strives to reach net-zero energy with many of his firm’s projects. “We didn’t push for the passive house standard because we didn’t believe it made sense for this particular project.” + Feldman Architecture Photography by Matthew Millman via Feldman Architecture

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Century-old building is reborn as a LEED Platinum home in San Francisco

Ramboll helps Lombok locals build earthquake-resistant bamboo housing

January 17, 2020 by  
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In 2018 when Lombok was struck by several earthquakes, some measuring up to magnitude 7, local communities around the seismic region were greatly affected. After the series of earthquakes settled, there were over 500 people dead, 445,000 people homeless and 129,000 homes damaged. Concerned that the quality of the area’s buildings was partially to blame, Els Houttave, founder of the Lombok-based charity Grenzeloos Milieu, knew that something had to be done to ensure this type of devastation never happened again. She teamed up with Ramboll bridge engineer Xavier Echegaray and structural engineer Marcin Dawydzik to find a solution that was both sustainable and resilient. When Dawydzik traveled to Lombok, he discovered the problem was in the building techniques and materials : “Villages were flattened with bricks and rubble scattered all around, in many cases the building foundations were all that remained. This was not an unusually powerful earthquake for the region, but lack of reinforcement in the buildings meant the damage, and consequential loss of life, was far greater than it should have been. What I found even more disturbing was that communities had already started rebuilding with the same absence of structural integrity that had existed in the destroyed buildings!”   As it turns out, the building solution was closer than expected. The partially-destroyed villages were surrounded by bamboo forests, a time-honored building material that is lightweight, strong, affordable, sustainable and reaches full maturity in about five years. Working hand-in-hand with the locals, Ramboll has now built three prototype earthquake-proof “template houses” made almost entirely out of locally-sourced bamboo. The homes are raised on cross-braced columns with a central staircase leading to the living area and space for two bedrooms. The walls are finished with bamboo woven sheets or canes and the roofing is made from recycled Tetra Pak carton packaging.  Going even further, the project headed by Grenzeloos Milieu and University College London will provide locals with a free blueprint on how to construct affordable earthquake-proof homes without complicated construction knowledge necessary. Additionally, Grenzeloos Milieu is growing more bamboo forests and teaching communities how to harvest the trees for food and construction. Ramboll volunteers on the ground in Lombok will teach the process hands-on while ensuring safety and efficiency . + Ramboll Via Dezeen Images via Ramboll

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Ramboll helps Lombok locals build earthquake-resistant bamboo housing

ZHA gets the green light for worlds first all-timber soccer stadium in England

January 10, 2020 by  
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After years of delays, Zaha Hadid Architects has finally gained planning approval for Eco Park Stadium, the world’s first all-timber soccer stadium in Gloucestershire, England that will serve as the new home of the Forest Green Rovers football club. As a beacon of sustainability, the structure will aim to be carbon neutral or carbon negative and will include renewable energy systems as well as low-carbon construction methods and operational processes. Set in a meadow, the Eco Park Stadium minimizes its visual impact on the surrounding landscape with a natural material palette and a soft, undulating profile topped with a transparent membrane roof to reduce the building’s volumetric impact and encourage turf growth. The building will be constructed almost entirely of sustainably sourced timber , from its structure and roof cantilevers to the seating terraces and floor slab — elements that are typically built from concrete and steel in most stadiums. The stadium design can also accommodate future growth; the structure will initially serve 5,000 spectators, while phased development can increase capacity to 10,000 seats without the costs of major construction works. “The really standout thing about this stadium is that it’s going to be almost entirely made of wood — the first time that will have been done anywhere in the world,” said Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder and Forest Green Rovers chairman. “When you bear in mind that around three quarters of the lifetime carbon impact of any stadium comes from its building materials, you can see why that’s so important — and it’s why our new stadium will have the lowest embodied carbon of any stadium in the world.” Related: Zaha Hadid’s 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar adapts for future use The Eco Park Stadium will be the centerpiece of the £100 million Eco Park development, Ecotricity’s 100-acre sports and green technology park proposal. Half of Eco Park will include state-of-the-art sporting facilities, including the new stadium, while the other half will be dedicated to a green technology business park with sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units. The proposal will also include a nature reserve on the site and a possible public transport hub. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by MIR and negativ.com via Zaha Hadid Architects

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ZHA gets the green light for worlds first all-timber soccer stadium in England

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