DPG Medias HQ to become one of the worlds largest wooden-hybrid offices

October 9, 2020 by  
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DELVA landscape architecture / urbanism and Team V Architecture have unveiled designs for DPG Media’s new Dutch head office — a sustainability-focused, 46,000-square-meter building that will be one of the largest wooden hybrid offices in the world once complete. Designed in collaboration with Arup, DGMR, SkaaL, SmitsRinsma and Thonik, the new DPG headquarters at the Amstel Business Park in Amsterdam will set an example for future development for the area, which will gradually transform from a traditional business park to a mixed urban area. In addition to providing office space, the building will include restaurants, an events venue and a lushly planted landscape that extends from the ground level to the green roof terraces above. Set to break ground in early 2021, DPG Media’s new Dutch headquarters will be constructed on the existing car park next to the printing house of the media company to consolidate all of the company’s Dutch publications, radio stations and online media sections under one roof. In addition to editorial offices and recording studios, the building will feature test labs, meeting labs, restaurants and an events venue with a terrace that faces the docks.  Related: Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction The building will be primarily built from glulam timber , from the columns to the ceilings, and punctuated with large windows for ample indoor daylighting. The exterior will be clad in locally produced, turquoise-tinted ceramic panels. A continuous plinth of green roof terraces will knit together the building’s three connected volumes and provide occupants with outdoor space to enjoy. “It’s been fantastic to have the opportunity to design this sustainable hub for DPG Media,” architect Do Janne Vermeulen said. “A versatile office headquarters building with a soft, fluent architecture that introduces a sustainable, green, post-industrial architectural language to the raw and developing context. Ambitious in program, scale and architecture, with an innovative timber construction.” DPG Media is expected to move into its new offices in 2023.  + DELVA landscape architecture / urbanism Images via DELVA landscape architecture / urbanism

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Exxon’s leaked documents reveal devastating pollution plan

October 9, 2020 by  
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In 2018, when  ExxonMobil announced  its intention to reduce its methane emissions and gas-burning, many welcomed and celebrated the news. Despite these initial claims, the company’s internal documents paint a different picture. Newly  leaked documents  reveal that Exxon actually plans to increase its carbon production by 17% by the year 2025. This increase would be equivalent to the total annual emissions of Greece.  Historically, Exxon has thrived on poor climate policies, ignored calls to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and never made a substantial commitment to reduce its oil and gas production. If the leaked documents are anything to go by, Exxon plans to continue this trend by following through with a 2018 plan to increase carbon output. As part of this plan, the company expects to create an extra 23 million U.S tons of CO2. The extra emissions will come from the company’s increased gas and oil production. According to the leaked documents, Exxon intends to implement a seven-year plan, in which an investment of $210 billion will result in additional 1 million barrels of oil each day. While the company plans to introduce some renewables and reduce methane , it demonstrates no clear, proven plan to achieve these ambitious goals. Additionally, Exxon’s plans to capture carbon and store it underground rely on unproven technology.  Without concrete reduction measures, Exxon’s direct emissions would increase by 21 million tons. This means that the company would be emitting 26% more carbon by 2025 as compared to their 2017 emissions. More interesting is the fact that estimates in the leaked report don’t account for emissions produced as a result of customers using the company’s products. About  90% of the pollution  caused by large gas and oil companies comes from the emissions released by final product users such as motorists and other gas users.  Via Earther and Bloomberg Image via Pixabay

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Rehabilitation Center of China is topped with a healing roof garden

July 21, 2020 by  
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Stefano Boeri Architetti’s Chinese office has won an international competition with its design for the Rehabilitation Center of China, a facility that is expected to be the largest and most innovative of its kind in the country. Located in Shenzhen’s Longhua district, the center will serve people with disabilities ages 16 to 60. Designed as a visual extension of the adjacent urban park, the building will be topped with landscaped terraces, including a therapeutic roof garden with native plant species as well as aromatic herbs and healing plants.  Slated for construction over the next three years, the Rehabilitation Center is a pilot project for China in exploring social inclusion and cohesion for people who have disabilities. The building will encompass a wide range of functions including rehabilitation, training, recreation, the arts, accommodation, education, office spaces and a museum. The facility will also host a sports center for competitions, individual and team training and a system of training courses aimed at rehabilitating various disabilities through physical, sensory, mental and other exercises. Related: NBBJ to design Tencent’s futuristic “Net City” in Shenzhen “Our project opens up a new perspective on the architecture of large rehabilitation centres,” Stefano Boeri said. “This is firstly because it perceives the concept of motor and/or cognitive disability not as an example of fragility suffered by a minority of people but as a condition that is common to us all, even if only during one phase of our life. Secondly, it offers an idea of total accessibility to spaces and rehabilitation services and thirdly because in recognizing the extraordinary therapeutic quality of greenery and nature, it offers an astonishing amount of accessible green and open spaces dedicated to all different styles of rehabilitation.” The building’s terraced design combined with its accessible, landscaped roofs will give it the appearance of small green mountain. In addition to the integration of accessible green spaces throughout, the eco-friendly building will feature advanced renewable energy production systems and rainwater collection.  + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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IKEA debuts plant-based meatballs

July 21, 2020 by  
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While a plate of Swedish meatballs has long been a standard part of an IKEA visit for omnivores,  vegetarians  endured the shopping trip on an empty stomach. Now, they hunger no more. IKEA has just announced its new plant ball, which allegedly has all the taste of a meatball but only 4% of the climate footprint. The plant balls will launch across Europe in August, before rolling out across the world. Served in  IKEA ‘s in-store restaurants, these plant balls will accompany the classic meatball plate, alongside mashed potatoes, vegetables, cream sauce and lingonberry jam. Both the meaty and meatless meals will cost the same price. Customers will also be able to buy the meals in IKEA’s Swedish Food Market for home preparation. Related: Top 5 sustainable products from IKEA to add to your home “At IKEA, we sell 1 billion meatballs a year,” Sharla Halvorson, Health & Sustainability Manager at IKEA Food, said in a press release. “Imagine if we can convert even some of those into plant balls. That’s a real tangible reduction in our  climate  footprint.” IKEA first introduced its meatballs in 1985. Departing from the classic recipe, the new plant balls use pea  protein , onion, potatoes, oat bran, dried apple and rapeseed oil. The resulting texture mimics that of real meatballs. Environmental concerns drove IKEA’s decision to offer a plant-based alternative. According to IKEA’s statistics, people can reduce their carbon footprint by up to 73% by eliminating meat and dairy products from their diet. The company estimated that 70% of IKEA Food’s  greenhouse gas  emissions come from beef and pork. IKEA Food has set a goal of offering 20% plant-based dishes by 2022. Alexander Magnusson, Chef & Project Leader at IKEA Food, emphasizes the plant balls’ versatility, suggesting that customers preparing them at home could add them to an Indian curry or serve them with kimchi. “Is this a Swedish meatball without  meat ?” he said. “Well, not exactly, but we’ve added the same sort of ingredients. The plant ball actually tastes more than a meatball, in a good way.” + IKEA Images via IKEA

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This dreamy eco villa runs on solar and wind energy

June 8, 2020 by  
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Located inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the municipality of Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Casa Bautista is a private oasis hidden in the coastal rainforest and completely powered by  solar  and wind energy. The  reserve  area can be found less than 40 miles from the center of tourist-friendly Tulum. It was established as a natural reserve in 1986 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site shortly after. This region is known for its natural limestone cenotes, archaeological ruins and, thanks to the healthy coral reef just off the coast, incredible snorkeling. Related: Prefab eco-pods offer luxury lodging in any environment One of the most unique aspects of this  eco resort’s architectural design is the color. To build the main structure, designers used an organic blue cast concrete that reacts to sun exposure throughout the day. Depending on the time of day and sun exposure, the color tones of the house range from various shades of blue to light pink and orange. Aimed at providing sustainable luxury, Casa Bautista is built on raised cross-shaped columns to reduce environmental impact on-site and to provide undisturbed views over the dunes between the property and the Caribbean sea. Terraces and pergolas situated throughout the house are made of locally-sourced wood, and an extended L-shaped floor plan provides natural cross  ventilation . The L-shape protects much of the interior from gaining too much sun exposure, while simultaneously providing adequate natural light during the day. Thanks to the cross breeze generated from the open design, only the bedrooms need air conditioning. A spiral staircase made with the same color-changing blue concrete connects all three levels of the structure. The middle floor and large roof terrace house much of the interior living space, while a pool and outdoor dining room are located on the top floor. A small tower off the master bedroom can be used as an additional space for work or meditation. Terraces also include a folding mechanism that can be raised and lowered to turn the residence into a “robust closed box” in the event of a hurricane. + PRODUCTORA Images via Onnis Luque

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This dreamy eco villa runs on solar and wind energy

ODA designs an urban experiment masterplan for Chengdu

April 28, 2020 by  
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On the invitation of the Chengdu government, New York-based architecture firm ODA has created a visionary new masterplan for the southwestern Chinese city. Spanning 1 million square feet, the proposal would include four 13-story residential towers integrated into a 700,000-square-foot, mixed-use commercial park with modern buildings optimized for passive energy savings. Described by the firm as an “urban experiment in rearranging priorities for the public realm,” the masterplan emphasizes pedestrian-friendly design and indoor-outdoor living throughout. Located along a river, ODA’s masterplan engages multiple levels, from the riverfront at the bottom to the elevated walkways that provide access to rooftop terraces. The design departs from the traditional street experience by prioritizing pedestrian access. It also provides a wide variety of gathering spaces and green spaces, from the accessible green roofs and residential gardens to urban farming plots and reflection pools. Related: ODA to transform Rotterdam’s historic post office into a vibrant destination In addition to apartment buildings, the proposed development is home to a mix of offices and retail that primarily relate to the creative fields. “Anchor” offices would include space for architecture firms, graphic design studios, incubators, startups, fashion studios and interior design firms. Ground-level retail would activate the streetscape and include galleries, community kitchens, markets, artist studios, bakeries, breweries, maker spaces and other stores and restaurants. All offices, residences and retail spaces would have direct outdoor access, while the tiered architecture would ensure ample access to natural light and air throughout the development. “The design combines personal security with common territories that allows neighbors to see and connect with one another,” ODA said. “The idea is that the program is staggered, creating pockets of privacy and connectivity, nooks for relaxation as well as recreation. ODA believes this is what smart design means in the future. Design that meets all our needs, that speaks to the collective whole, and therefore the collective good.” + ODA New York Images via ODA

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A contemporary German home celebrates energy-saving, seasonal living

April 28, 2020 by  
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Architecture firms Jurek Brüggen and KOSA architekten teamed up to design Haus am See — German for “House by the Lake” — a minimalist home crafted for seasonal living. Located on the highest point of Werder Island near the border of Germany and Poland, the contemporary residence has been deliberately stripped down to a restrained palette of exposed concrete and wood in striking contrast to its more ornate neighbors. The Haus am See is located among four other houses with very different architectural styles, including Neo-Gothic Belvedere, Art Deco, Neo Classical and a bungalow design from the German Democratic Republic era. In contrast, the new residence has no ornamentation; the building consists of a lower, bunker-like concrete volume and a wooden pavilion on the roof that looks out over views of the Havel River. All the construction materials are left exposed and unpainted. Related: Green-roofed Stonecrop home rises from rural English landscape The interior is likewise minimalist ; however, it feels much warmer thanks to the use of light-colored timber surfaces throughout. The wooden staircase that leads from the ground floor to the roof doubles as a bookshelf. Large windows and sliding doors provide a constant connection to the outdoors, including the garden with a stone outdoor pool. To reduce energy costs, the architects designed the home to follow the concept of seasonal living. In winter, the residents can close off the pavilion using folding doors and a sliding window, thus condensing their living area to the ground floor, which is partly buried into the slope to take advantage of the earth’s thermal mass . In summer, the home’s living space is doubled with the use of the pavilion and terrace. “The seasonal living concept brings a millennia-old cultural technique into the present day,” the architects explained. “In contrast to conventional energy-saving houses, which isolate themselves from their surroundings, it shows how we can effectively conserve resources while living sustainably in connection with the environment. The seasonal concept is a strategy for sustainable living in a time of excessive insulation regulations.” + Jurek Brüggen + KOSA Images via Jurek Brüggen

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

Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions

March 4, 2020 by  
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In the coastal township of Barwon Heads, Australian architecture firm Peter Winkler Architects has completed the Green Velvet House, a family’s solar-powered home that sensitively responds to the landscape in more ways than one. Positioned for passive solar design and to maximize views over the surrounding tree canopy, the sustainable dwelling was engineered to minimize impact on the existing terrain. In addition to walls of glass that let in natural light and ventilation, the home draws power from a rooftop solar array and minimizes its environmental footprint with rainwater collection tanks for irrigation and toilet-flushing. Nestled into an existing depression in the site, the Green Velvet House rises to a height of two stories with 580 square meters of living space. Its minimalist appearance — a facade of cement sheets and floor-to-ceiling glazing divided by exposed structural timbers — helps to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. “In response to the program, we have minimized the building footprint by efficiently consolidating the form, rather than creating a sprawling building that overtakes the site,” the team explained. Related: Samurai-inspired home keeps naturally cool in Melbourne To keep the focus on the outdoors, the solar-powered home is surrounded by walls of glass and terraces that invite the owners outdoors on multiple floors. The outdoor spaces and the interiors are protected from unwanted solar gain by generous eaves and horizontal screens. The main living areas and the guest bedroom are located on the ground floor, while the upper floor is reserved for the more private areas, including the master suite and two children’s bedrooms. Plywood walls and a sealed fiber-cement ceiling reference the exterior materials and lend a sense of warmth to the interiors. Recycled “Grey Ironbark” hardwood columns and beams are also featured throughout the building. For energy efficiency, the Colorbond tray deck roof is fitted with a 10.26 kW photovoltaic system . The aluminum sliding doors are also outfitted with double glazing, while the double-hung, sashless windows can be opened for natural ventilation. Three 5,000-liter water tanks were installed beneath the north deck to store rainwater for garden use and toilet-flushing, while other stormwater runoff is retained in bioswales. The home is also equipped with hydronic heating, wood-burning fireplaces and a Sanden heat pump with a 315-liter water tank. + Peter Winkler Architects Photography by Jack Lovel via Peter Winkler Architects

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MVRDV’s garden oasis in Utrecht includes a green-roofed convention center

December 9, 2019 by  
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MVRDV has unveiled designs to transform the underutilized area on the west side of Utrecht’s central station into “a garden in the city” with a new, green-roofed Jaarbeurs convention center. The redeveloped events venue will be at the the heart of a 600,000-square-meter masterplan. Created to achieve BREEAM Excellent certification, the project has been fittingly named a “city oasis” by Jaarbeurs CEO Albert Arp for its inclusion of accessible green space, the beautification of the streetscape and the focus on sustainable design. Developed in collaboration with SITE Urban Development, the masterplan for the Jaarbeursdistrict will redefine the area as one presently dominated by cars into a more pedestrian-friendly destination. The new design will introduce a car-free street — the “Jaarbeurs Boulevard” — that will serve as the neighborhood’s new backbone and provide access to the new Jaarbeurs convention center as well as create a direct link from the station to the shops and restaurants along the Merwede Canal and areas beyond. Related: This Eco Villa in Utrecht produces all of its own energy through solar power In addition to the inclusion of sustainable technologies, the new Jaarbeurs venue will feature an accessible green roof that descends to the ground level via cascading terraces that can be reached from all four sides. The spacious green roof will house a rooftop park with a “carpet of programmable ‘squares’ and gardens” to host a wide variety of programming and renewable systems, such as water storage and energy generation. Construction of the Jaarbeurs events venue is expected to start in 2023. “It is rare that a private party not only invests in its own building but also includes the environment in its plans,” said Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV. “This masterplan shows that Jaarbeurs is passionate about the city and dares to think outside the box. This is desperately needed, because this underutilized area has the potential to become a fantastic neighborhood with the venue as its core — an attractive green ‘hill’ in the city. The plan is also an opportunity to significantly improve the city and properly connect the center, the station area, the Merwede Canal zone and the Kanaleneiland.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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