HOH Cafe is a shipping container coffee shop hidden in a tranquil park

September 25, 2020 by  
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Tucked away into a forested area on the edge of Taiwan’s Zhubei City, the HOH Cafe is a shipping container coffee shop that offers a quiet respite for the area’s busy residents. The project’s designers at Infeel Architects converted an old shipping container for the main part of the cafe, using rusty iron to echo the original material and wood to help the shop blend into its surrounding environment. Completed in 2020, the HOH Cafe measures at just 560 square feet. According to the architects, they wanted to lead locals into the shipping container coffee shop through a small, winding path that meanders along sleepers and a big tree. They added soft lighting and subtle, hanging decorative features in order to acclimate locals from the bustling edge of the city into the green space and cafe. Wide, open spaces help sunlight and fresh air filter through the site to add a more natural ambiance. Related: This dad built a backyard coffee shop with repurposed materials The scenery is highlighted by a relaxing water feature in the form of a pond, complete with green lily pads, stone and water plants to create a tranquil vibe while people enjoy their drinks or wait in line. Inside the cafe, warm, organic tones with natural wood finishes and pewter or metal coffee-making tools create a treehouse feel that contrasts with the nearby city. At least two sides of the shop open up completely from floor to ceiling, and the backdrop behind the counter can either open to create more cross-breezes or close to remain as a series of large windows. At night, the space illuminates with string lights and embedded ground lights. A continuous bar counter presents the barista, while a linear free-flow characterizes the cafe with exclusive posture and appearance. These stunning movements and postures, along with the natural winding path, integrate the coffee shop into the organic scenery with every change of season. + Infeel Architects Photography by lllooimage via Infeel Architects

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HOH Cafe is a shipping container coffee shop hidden in a tranquil park

No new gas-powered cars by 2035, California governor says

September 25, 2020 by  
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California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new executive order bans the sale of all new gasoline-powered cars and passenger trucks by 2035. After that, only zero-emissions new cars will be sold in the state of  California . Californians will still be able to own, drive, buy and sell used cars that run on gas. Over half of California’s current carbon emissions come from transportation. The governor’s office foresees a 35% drop in  greenhouse gas  emissions once the new policy goes into effect. Related: 17,000 Tiehm’s buckwheat, rare wildflowers of Nevada, destroyed “I don’t know of any other state in this country that’s been more forceful and forthright in establishing and anchoring a consciousness around  climate change ,” Newsom said in a press conference Wednesday. “We just want to fundamentally reconcile the fact we’re no longer living in 19th century, and we don’t need to drill things or extract things in order to advance our economic goals and advance our mobility needs.” Priorities stressed in the executive order include setting new health regulations around oil extraction and the communities affected by it, stopping hydraulic  fracking  permits from being issued by 2024 and planning a statewide rail and transit network. The California Air Resources Board is formulating regulations for medium and heavy-duty vehicles to be zero emissions by 2045. “This is an economic opportunity: the opportunity to transform our  economy across sectors, the opportunity to accelerate innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit, the opportunity to bring more companies here into the state of California,” said Newsom. Not everyone favors this turn away from gasoline, and Newsom will likely face political, legal and commercial challenges. In the past, President Trump has objected to California setting its own auto  emission  standards that differ from federal rules. The California New Car Dealers Association released a statement saying that the state’s citizens should have more of a say in this matter. While electric cars are better for the environment than those fueled by gasoline, the lithium necessary for electronic vehicles’ batteries causes another set of problems. Mining for  lithium  affects communities and ecosystems from northern Tibet to the salt plains of Chile to Nevada’s desert. Hopefully, better batteries and the planned statewide rail and transit network catch on and drive down demand for every person to own a private car. Via ABC7 and Salon Image via Pexels

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No new gas-powered cars by 2035, California governor says

Nature-inspired home uses passive design to stay cool in Taiwan

March 12, 2020 by  
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Just outside Kaohsiung’s city center, Taiwanese architecture firm Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute has completed Comfort in Context, a contemporary new home nestled in a lush hillside. Crafted as a respite in nature, the building is set far back from the road and is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glazing to take in mountain views. Nature also informed the design and orientation of the home, which relies on cross breezes and strategically located roof eaves to stay naturally cool while minimizing the use of electricity. Though strikingly contemporary in appearance, the design of Comfort in Context relies on age-old passive design principles for providing a comfortable living environment year-round. Oriented east to west, the home features a facade that mitigates unwanted solar gain at all times of the day while taking advantage of southwesterly winds to combat Taiwan’s hot and humid summers. In winter, the neighboring hills protect the building from cold winds. Related: Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan “Nature doesn’t have to be the second thought for an architect in 2020, it must always be his or her first,” the firm explained. “The earth isn’t getting any better and everyone needs to do everything they can to reduce the emissions of their projects.” To further reduce the carbon footprint of the home, the architects planted a number of Taiwanese beech trees around the property. Environmentally friendly recycled materials were also used for the building structure, facade, finishes and interior. By building with the existing landscape to minimize site impact, the architects were able to reduce construction costs. As a result, more resources were diverted to the clients’ most important space in the house: the open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen that occupy a large part of the ground floor. The upper floor contains a spacious master bedroom, secondary bedroom, two atriums and five balconies. + Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10 Architecture & Interior Design Institute

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Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan

September 3, 2019 by  
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In Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung, architect Ken Lo of Chain10 has crafted an eco-conscious restaurant for the third location of the Japanese grill restaurant chain Tan Zuo Ma Li. Dubbed the Green Isle after its abundance of greenery, the project emphasizes reduced carbon emissions with its lush landscaping, use of locally sourced and recycled materials and emphasis on natural lighting and ventilation. The architect also used modular metal components to make it easier for the client to replace, disassemble, transport and reassemble parts as needed. Spanning an area of nearly 6,000 square meters, the Green Isle features not only a restaurant space but also new green space that includes a nearly 120-meter pool and over 250 large trees around the property. A bridge was built across the pool to lead guests to the restaurant’s main entrance. At night, special mood lighting is used to illuminate the landscape. Related: MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof The architect used minimalist decor to highlight the natural characteristics of the materials used — such as the locally sourced marble and the exposed concrete exterior walls — as well as the surrounding environment. “In order to respect the relationship between the building and the green environment, the decorations of the indoor dining area were simplified,” the firm explained. “There was nothing overly complex or intricate but rather a focus on simple, modern choices.” The landscaping and the large pool also help create a cooling microclimate that counteracts Kaohsiung’s tropical heat. According to the architects, the Green Isle can be 2 degrees Celsius cooler than other parts of the city, which is built mainly of concrete and susceptible to the urban heat island effect. Walls of glass flood the interiors with natural light, while roof overhangs and solar shades mitigate unwanted solar gain. + Chain10 Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10

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Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan

This treehouse-inspired home in Los Angeles wraps around a cedar tree that grows through the roof

September 3, 2019 by  
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Known for its seemingly endless urban sprawl and noisy traffic, Los Angeles makes finding serenity no easy task. But Los Angeles- and Berlin-based firm Anonymous Architects has managed to create a soothing design that sits perched up high in a forest just a short distance away from the bustling cityscape. To blend the home into its idyllic surroundings, the architects incorporated a number of wooden elements into the design, including reclaimed cedar siding  and a massive tree that grows straight up through the middle of the home. Located in Echo Park, California, the 2,400-square-foot residence is embedded onto a steep hillside. Although the topography was challenging to say the least, the designers managed to use it to their advantage. Related: This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse According to the architects, the goal from the outset was to preserve the site’s natural features as much as possible. This meant cantilevering the home over the sloped landscape using a concrete base for support. This strategy enabled the house to sit high up in the air, giving it a treehouse effect. Cantilevering the structure over the landscape also meant that the home would enjoy more green space, both planted and natural. The layout and shape of the home was also marked by the existing vegetation. Set between three large cedars, the frame was angled to fit in between the trees. The fourth tree grows up straight up through one of the bedrooms , soaring up from the forest floor through the roof. The house, which is a rental, was conceived as two separate units that can also serve as a large family home . The main unit is comprised of two bedrooms and is designed for a family of four. From the living space, an outdoor walkway leads to the other unit with an additional bedroom, living area, bath and kitchen. If not in use as part of the main home, it can be used as an office or closed off as a rental space. Throughout the interior, homage is respectfully paid to the natural settings through the use of wood and natural light. Reclaimed chestnut flooring runs through the structure. Wooden doors, bookshelves and cabinets were also custom-made for the house. A covered wooden deck provides the perfect place to take in the forest views. In addition to its reclaimed materials, the home also boasts a number of sustainable features , including a solar water heater. The residence was built with tight insulation to keep the interior at stable temperatures during the year, and optimal natural light reduces the need for electricity during the day. + Anonymous Architects Via Dwell Photography by Steve King via Anonymous Architects

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This treehouse-inspired home in Los Angeles wraps around a cedar tree that grows through the roof

A greenhouse is transformed into an experimental living space in Taiwan

September 26, 2018 by  
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Taipei-based design practice BIAS Architects recently completed “Greenhouse as a Home,” an experimental installation that reinterprets the living areas of a traditional house as five climatic zones. Created for the 2018 Taoyuan Green Expo, the project invited the public to experience the buildings with all five senses, from feeling the climatic differences to eating fresh vegetables hydroponically grown in the installation. Greenhouse as a Home consists of five independent yet interconnected steel grid structures with varying heights and climates ranging from 16 to 29 degrees Celsius (61 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit). Greenhouse as a Home was developed to promote a “culture of sustainability” with its interactive programmatic zones conducive to education. “Here, the human living space is intertwined with that of the plants and organized according to climatic zones, rather than traditional architectural areas,” the architects explained. “ Greenhouses building materials and structures are arranged to separate climatic areas, while the distribution of water and energy flows is technologically managed. The roof is covered with various combinations of agricultural gauzes and plastic films to control lighting and solar radiation.” The experimental project is divided into five structures: the Fern Living Room, Farm Dining, Photosynthesis Kitchen, Sun Garden and Theater of Mushroom. A defined walking path links the different volumes. The first zone visitors experience is the Fern Living Room, a shadowy and humid space dressed with potted ferns hung from the ceiling. The next room, Farm Dining, is slightly hotter and less humid and serves as the main activity zone organized around a large table. Related: 6 places where soil-less farming is revolutionizing how we grow food A vertical hydroponic farm is located in the Photosynthesis Kitchen, the middle zone where fresh vegetables are picked daily and cooked in the demonstration kitchen. The fourth zone, the Sun Garden, is the hottest and driest room of all and is used to desiccate vegetables. The fifth and final zone, the Theater of Mushroom, immerses visitors into a dark, highly humid environment with the coolest temperatures in the entire installation; the multisensory space is complemented by light and sound performances. + BIAS Architects Images by Rockburger

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A greenhouse is transformed into an experimental living space in Taiwan

This Taiwan hotel draws inspiration from "glittering sea foam"

June 28, 2018 by  
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Taiwanese firm  Emerge Architects has created a beautiful hotel in a remote coastal area of Yilan in northeastern Taiwan. Built into a large hill that overlooks the harbor, the Onyx Lit House is a contemporary jet-black tower with clusters of round windows that stream light into the interior. The bold tower, which becomes a glowing beacon at night, was inspired by the seaside landscape. Located in the coastal area of Yilan, the Onyx Lit House holds court over the city’s bustling harbor area. According to the architects, the seaside environment served as an inspiration for the design. “Our first impression of Toucheng Village and Wishi Harbour in Yilan was the smell of salty waves, the sound of splashes on the glossy shingle beach and the sight of distant Guishan Island,” the firm said. “The image of dissolving waves and glittering sea foam became the source to the guesthouse’s design element.” Related: Chrome Hotel’s Swiss Cheese Facade Saves Energy The hotel’s dark facade is punctuated with various round windows. During the day, pockets of natural light  filter in through the openings and brighten the interior. At night, the tower becomes a glowing beacon on the outside, while the interior resembles a starry night sky. The nearly 3,000-square-foot guest home spreads out over three floors. A narrow staircase connects the floors, all of which are decorated with a minimalist  design . The common spaces are painted a stark white to contrast the black exterior. Every floor has an open-air balcony that lets visitors sit and enjoy the fresh sea air. The individual guestrooms are arranged to take advantage of  natural light during the day and the starry-like atmosphere at night. The unique windows also provide stunning views of the sea and mountains in the distance. + Emerge Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Lucas K. Doolan via Emerge Architects

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This Taiwan hotel draws inspiration from "glittering sea foam"

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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Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

March 21, 2018 by  
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Aedas has unveiled plans for a soaring 656-foot tower that’s broken into two pieces held together by a series of ‘floating’ sky gardens and glass boxes. The architects drew inspiration from the Chinese character ‘?’ in the logo of the Taichung Commercial Bank. The 40-story high tower is a mixed-use development comprising the Taichung Commercial Bank Headquarters and an internationally-branded five-star hotel. Instead of stacking all the large functions such as the ballroom and swimming pool in a singular tower, the design creates two separate towers with a vertical void in the middle of the building. Related: Village-inspired office in Jakarta is topped with living trees and a green roof A series of transparent glass boxes house public exhibition space, sky gardens , a ballroom, a swimming pool, and conferencing facilities within the void. This plan enriches the building’s shape and creates a unique, iconic feature facing the main road. A terrace retreat at the rooftop features a restaurant and a VIP club long. Landscaped outdoor space and sweeping balconies provide magnificent city views for guests. Aedas’ design recently won the Tall Buildings category at MIPIM/The Architectural Review Future Project Awards 2018. + Aedas Via Archinect

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Floating sky gardens and rooftop terraces join two halves of this tower in Taiwan

Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

October 19, 2017 by  
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Water scarcity doesn’t just affect those in arid climates—areas in humid tropics also lack access to freshwater sources. National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) students in Taiwan tackle these water issues with AQUAIR, a portable fog-harvesting device that pulls potable water out of the air. Designed for use in remote mountainous areas in tropical latitudes, AQUAIR can be easily assembled with the addition of locally sourced materials with future aims of open source production. Though AQUAIR’s water collection system has widespread uses, NCKU design students Wei-Yee Ong, Hsin-Ju Lin, Shih-Min Chang, and Marco Villa created the workable prototype in response to Honduras’ water crisis. As the second poorest nation in Central America, Honduras is home to a large number of subsistence farmers and rural communities that lack access to clean water due to drought and groundwater contamination—issues also felt in rural mountainous Taiwan. Like most fog harvesting systems, AQUAIR collects water with a mesh waterproof fabric stretched across a bamboo structure to maximize airflow. The key to AQUAIR’s design is the fan and small centrifuge that use gravity—a 30-kilogram weight is attached to the structure—to draw collected water vapor down a tube and into a bucket. The collapsible structure can be assembled by hand, while locally sourced rocks and bamboo can be used for the weight and tensile structure, respectively. Related: Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments The design students plan to take their working prototype to Honduras in February where they’ll work together with the local community. “We also want the project to be easy to build and assemble, so the local people can easily access the parts or create their own versions of AQUAIR,” said Marco Villela. “We do not want the parts to be 3D printed, because the material is not strong enough, so the best and cheapest option would be to create a mold and use plastic or ABS injection techniques. In regards to the gears, we want to get more sturdy and durable gears, so while the cheaper parts of the system can be replaced, the gear box can last for as long as possible. The project is designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble, also if any part is defective, it is easy and cheap to replace.” AQUAIR recently received a Design Mark for innovation in environmental and humanitarian issues as part of the 2017 Golden Pin Concept Design Award . + Golden Pin Concept Design Award

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Portable fog-harvesting AQUAIR harvests clean drinking water from thin air

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