Old military buildings converted into living spaces at The Hinge

February 15, 2021 by  
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In the spirit of making what’s old new again, Dutch architect Niels Olivier led a team to transform a disheveled military compound into modern, functional spaces. Located in Arnhem, The Netherlands , the project known as The Hinge, or De Scharnier, included a master plan drawn up by MVRDV and Buro Harro. Two interconnected buildings formerly housed a theater on one side and a restaurant on the other. Following the conversion, the same structure now houses a living space, workshop and office for a well-known artist and his family. Related: A clever, garden-filled facelift revives a derelict building in Denmark The buildings on the site date back to the 1960s and 70s and were in bad disrepair. Yet, rather than demolish them and build from the ground up, it was important to Olivier from a sustainability perspective to  salvage  as much of the original structures as possible.  On this topic, Olivier told Inhabitat, “My passion is to bring new life to outdated, abandoned buildings. Make something out of what is considered to be nothing! A fast route to sustainability is to re-use as much as possible, this should in particular count for the re-use of the main structure of buildings, saving tons of concrete, wood and steel.” Some portions were just too dilapidated to save, such as the entire facade, which fell apart and was replaced with aluminum frames and wooden cladding. During the same portion of the project, a large folding door was added to accommodate the transport of large art pieces or a van if needed. In another space, formerly a kitchen, office and technical room, the construction of a few walls and the removal of others created two apartments and an artist’s office. In addition to using natural materials and employing methods to salvage the original architecture, the team incorporated  energy-saving  systems into the plan. Pellet heating provides comfort for the entire complex. Additional energy needs are met using solar panels placed on the roof. Although there is a pool on-site, it is unheated for the sake of energy savings and is filtered using a natural system that includes  plants  and gravel. According to a press release, this makes the house “almost energy neutral.” + Niels Olivier Architect Via ArchDaily   Images via Arne Olivier Fotografie

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Old military buildings converted into living spaces at The Hinge

Modular home in Delft boasts low-carbon timber build and a green roof

December 8, 2020 by  
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Building information modeling ( BIM ), modular construction and low-carbon timber materials combine in the sustainable Buitenhuis, a small, low-impact home with beautiful farmland views in Heinenoord, the Netherlands. Dutch architecture firm VLOT architecten designed Buitenhuis with a strong connection to the outdoors not only by framing sweeping landscape views with an entire glazed facade but also by integrating existing trees and plants into the green-roofed structure. The home is engineered to be completely dismountable with dry connections so that it can removed with minimal environmental impact. Although the main brief for Buitenhuis seems simple — to create a home for enjoying garden and farmland views — the process for creating the structure was anything but. The architects completely engineered the building with BIM and developed 3D models for the steel foundation and wooden load-bearing structure to minimize construction waste. The modeling also led to a modular structure design based on a 1.5-meter grid with prefabricated components. Laminated larch and cross-laminated timber are the main construction materials; the architects also used wood fiber insulation, padouk decking and birch plywood for the floors and ceilings. Related: Energy-plus home is a beacon of sustainability in Tel Aviv To blur the boundary between indoors and out, Buitenhuis opens up to a large deck in warmer weather. The outdoor living space expands the footprint of the home from 54 square meters to 210 square meters. The deck is cantilevered over a garden and existing ditch, which serves as the boundary between the garden and the farmland that stretches in all directions. The garden is irrigated with rainwater harvested from the sedum-covered roof. Passive solar principles also informed the design of the home, which is outfitted with all-electric appliances as well as electric floor heating. Extended roof eaves mitigate unwanted solar gain in the summer while permitting winter sun, and the windows can be opened on all sides to promote natural ventilation. + VLOT architecten Images via VLOT architecten

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Modular home in Delft boasts low-carbon timber build and a green roof

Nimble makes phone accessories from recycled plastic, CDs and more

December 8, 2020 by  
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Technological innovation is here to stay. With it comes the struggle to control e-waste and its assault on the environment. So the three co-founders of Nimble for Good, PBC have combined their extensive experience in the tech, marketing and design development industries to launch a brand of personal tech products committed to ethical and sustainable material sourcing, manufacturing and post-consumer disposal. How it all started The concept is simple, really — develop and use products made from recycled materials to divert waste from the landfill , be transparent as a business and give customers an easy way to support those efforts with eco-friendly products they use every day. Related: Pela offers biodegradable phone cases and other zero-waste products With a strong background in the industry and a quick $2.5 million from investors as a startup just two years ago, Nimble wasted no time jumping into the tech market with the Bottle Case — a cell phone case made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles . With the sale of each case, the company donated “5% to those working to protect the planet’s oceans and marine life.” In alignment with the company’s mission to reduce pollution through material collection and post-consumer recycling, the Bottle Case was a stand-out release that set the stage for a variety of other products. CEO Ross Howe summarized the vision by saying, “Our oceans are drowning in plastic. We’re not interested in creating new plastic to make phone cases. Virtually all phone cases made today require production of virgin materials, while there’s an overwhelming abundance of plastic material already in the ecosystem. We want to keep existing plastic in the economy and out of our oceans and landfills.” Nimble’s phone accessories The newest product from the team, supervised by co-founders Howe, Kevin Malinowski, head of marketing, and John Bradley, head of creative, is simply named the Disc Case. This is the first protective case for iPhones that is made from 100% recycled compact discs . The process involves collecting the CDs, cleaning them and using the polycarbonate components for the phone cases. Using recycled materials eliminates the need for virgin plastics, but the phone cases are also recyclable when they are no longer usable. “Think about how many CDs, DVDs, and software discs are no longer being used,” Howe said. “Facing obsolescence, most go to landfills or incineration, creating a massive stream of toxic waste and pollution . We’re continuing to demonstrate how recycled materials in new products are essential to achieve a more sustainable future.” Nimble also manufactures portable chargers with an interior composed of hard, plant-based plastics made from materials like corn and sugarcane. The devices also incorporate recycled aluminum and the natural mineral crystal, mica, which provides the non-slip exterior. Other similarly earth-conscious products include wireless chargers and fast-charge kits. All products come with a biodegradable bag and prepaid mail-in label that makes it easy to participate in the company’s e-waste recycling program, One-for-One Tech Recovery Project. All devices, phone cases, cables and cell phones are shipped directly to an e-waste recycling partner for proper disassembly and recycling. According to the company website, “Since Aug 2018, we’ve collected over 3,000 lbs. of e-waste, phone cases and compact discs from our customers for proper reclamation by Homeboy Electronics Recycling and other partners.” Sustainable shipping, packaging and partnerships The team is equally focused on minimizing Nimble’s impact from shipping and manufacturing as they continue to explore material options such as recycled plastic, organic hemp , recycled aluminum, bioplastic and more. Each product is shipped using 100% plastic-free options, like recycled scrap paper, and leaves out harmful inks or dyes. Every shipping package is fully recyclable and biodegradable. Not everything in business can be controlled in-house, so when Nimble relies on suppliers, they must agree to conform to the Supplier Code of Conduct. This means all suppliers are evaluated and verified in order to ensure that they share Nimble’s values regarding workers’ rights, sustainable materials and minimal environmental impact. In further highlighting its dedication to corporate responsibility , Nimble is one of around 3,600 Certified B Corporations in the world, meaning it meets the highest standards of human and environmental considerations. In addition, Nimble is dedicated to donating at least 1% of annual sales to environmental nonprofit organizations as a member of 1% for the Planet. Nimble has also partnered with Verizon Wireless as part of the telecommunication company’s initiative to offer more eco-friendly options to its customers. + Nimble Images via Nimble

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Nimble makes phone accessories from recycled plastic, CDs and more

Energy-neutral House of Eemnes is a sustainable culture house

October 21, 2020 by  
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Thirty minutes east of Amsterdam , the municipality of Eemnes has recently welcomed a beautiful community center for everyone in the town to gather, play and learn. Created by Dutch firm MoederscheimMoonen Architects in collaboration with construction company Vaessen B.V., the mixed-use project — named the House of Eemnes — combines a library, theater, sports facilities and a restaurant all under one roof. Impressively, the project has also been engineered to be future-ready and sustainable with solar panels that generate more energy than the building consumes as well as a responsible stormwater management plan that captures rainwater runoff. Conceived as a meeting point in the heart of the town, the House of Eemnes was crafted with an inviting character that is achieved with a partly perforated facade inspired by the pattern in the city’s coat of arms as well as a light-filled interior dressed in warm materials. The library and restaurant are located at the center of the building and branch out to the various multifunctional areas, from the theater to the massive sports hall that can accommodate multiple recreational activities at the same time. Related: Amsterdam’s new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy Large expanses of glazing, a natural materials palette and a vibrant mix of colors and patterns used throughout the interior executed by Aatvos and MARS interior architects help create a cohesive and inviting feel despite the diverse programming. Much of the interior follows an open layout for direct sight lines and easy social distancing; however, cozy nooks and intimate spaces have also been incorporated for more passive activities. A tall bookcase runs through the building to not only unite the floors but to also represent the identity of the House of Eemnes. As an energy-neutral building, the House of Eemnes features a roof entirely covered with solar panels that can even generate more energy than the building requires. The highly pervious landscape is optimized for water absorption while the skate park at the entrance can double as a water square for retaining overflow during heavy storms. + MoederscheimMoonen Architects Photography by Luuk Kramer via MoederscheimMoonen Architects

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Energy-neutral House of Eemnes is a sustainable culture house

DIY Halloween costumes for this year’s virtual parties

October 21, 2020 by  
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Halloween 2020 will likely look a bit different than past years, considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But even if your shindig is a virtual Halloween party, the costumes are still at the heart of the fun. When planning the perfect outfit for your socially distanced event, remember to consider the impact on the planet. It’s easy to bring the ‘wow’ factor that will keep party-goers talking for weeks to come while still avoiding plastic and using materials that are natural and recyclable or compostable. Happy Halloween! Use what you have The easiest way to create DIY Halloween costumes with little to no additional environmental impact is to use what you already have. Dig through the closet and the holiday totes in the garage. You might be surprised what you find that could make for a fun, unique costume. Related: Have an eco-friendly Halloween and aim for zero-waste this October Scarecrow A plaid shirt alongside a straw hat will help you pull off a scarecrow costume sure to keep the birds at bay. Add some non-toxic face paint to complete the look. Farmer Some overalls and a bandana with that same flannel shirt and straw hat will spin your look into a farmer instead. Put the scarecrow and the farmer together for a cute couples’ costume idea. Skeleton Much of the skeleton look relies on the face paint. But for clothing, adorn all-black shirts and pants with white paint or fabric to create the appearance of bones. Cat A black cat, leopard or cheetah are always popular for Halloween. Dress in all black or pull out the printed onesie for starters. Then add some easy ears, a tail and face paint for the finishing touches. If you don’t have fabric around, look to old linens or clothing you can cut. Attach triangular ears to a headband. For the tail, sew two long strips of fabric together and stuff with additional material, cotton, packing paper or another natural material . Elephant Similarly, you can don gray clothing head to toe, and add an empty gift wrap tube or paper towel roll for your trunk. Create some floppy ears from fabric-covered or painted cardboard. Robber A robber costume is quick and easy. Throw on a black-and-white striped top, some black pants and a black beanie. Pair with a pillowcase to hold your spoils. Ladybug Children and adults alike can pull this look off with a bit of black paint, fabric or stickers and a pair of red pajamas you may already have around the house. Leggings and a long-sleeve shirt will do the job, too. Simple apply black circles randomly around the red fabric. Put together a simple matching mask or rely on face paint for the final touch. Turn to the recycling bin Save those boxes for your 2020 Halloween costumes and choose from this variety of quick, DIY costume options. Robot For the upper body of a robot costume, cut holes in a box for your head, lower body and arms. You can make it slide on over your head or attach in two pieces so it wraps around your body before securing with tape or ties. For your helmet, create another square box with a face cutout. No plastic required! Dress in gray with a long sleeve shirt and pants. Complete the look by painting the cardboard gray and attaching or painting knobs and a display on the front. Tip: recycled plastic or metal bottle caps make great knobs. Dice Roll the dice for a win with a simple cardboard box painted to look like a die. Remember, an accurate die adds up to seven on all opposite sides, so five dots are across from two dots, four across from three, and one across from six. Rubix Cube For a more colorful look, use the same cardboard box idea as the die, but paint it to resemble a Rubix Cube instead with various colorful squares. Knight Be a knight in shining armor for the planet with a cardboard shield, helmet and body armor. Embellish with paint if you like. Remember the cardboard or wood sword for your defense in battle! Mummy It’s a classic costume for a reason — it’s so easy. Head out to the paint supply cupboard or linen closet for an old white sheet , rip or cut it into shreds and wrap yourself head to toe. You’ll be ready for your next virtual Halloween bash in no time! Images via Adobe Stock

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DIY Halloween costumes for this year’s virtual parties

Hollandse Nieuwe crafts a vibrant, eco-friendly workspace with VR

September 10, 2020 by  
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Amsterdam-based architectural practice Hollandse Nieuwe has enlisted the help of virtual reality to create a dynamic and colorful workspace for civil servants. Commissioned by the local government as part of the city’s current policy to provide homes and semi-public workplaces for civil servants, the architects designed a flexible office space conducive to collaboration, health and creativity. The 1,650-square-meter office development was completed in 2019. To meet the government’s brief for a semi-public workspace open to all civil servants, the architects took cues from a grand cafe for the design of the ground floor. To promote social activity, the building features a plaza-like area that hosts diverse meeting places as well as a catering facility and kitchen that provides high-quality coffee. Related: Old coffee roastery to be reborn as a net-zero carbon office in London In the extended part of the plaza is the ‘superflexzone,’ an area comprising workspaces as well as flex-spaces that can be used as overflow for rentable units and civil servants interested in “hot desking,” or staying in the building for just a short period of time. The office also has a conference center for formal meetings. Although the office space follows an open-floor plan , the architects have clearly delineated the busier zones from the quieter areas while bright color schemes aid in way-finding. Proper insulation provides pleasant acoustics and indoor comfort as well. VR technology was also used to communicate the vision to the client for optimal results. The project follows the architecture firm’s goals of sustainability and recycling. Elements from the original interior, for instance, have been repurposed for the design of the new interior. The materials and finishes are all environmentally friendly. Well Standard principles have also been followed, and the existing pillars were covered with a new layer of foil to make them look fresh. Plant motifs are woven throughout the design to create a connection with nature. + Hollandse Nieuwe Images via Hollandse Nieuwe

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Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

July 6, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based architecture firm AEMSEN has recently unveiled BARBIZON, a design proposal for sustainable apartments built from prefabricated, cross-laminated timber modules. Created with the vision that cities need healthy buildings, BARBIZON’s timber construction would be integrated with shared green spaces to encourage neighborly relations and to offset the urban heat island effect. The concept was originally developed for Barbizonlaan in Capelle aan den IJssel; however, the flexible design could be applied in other parts of the world as well. Energy efficiency, reduced building waste and sequestered carbon are among the many advantages of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber construction. AEMSEN’s BARBIZON proposal would comprise stackable and interchangeable CLT modules that combine to create 112 gas-free and bio-based apartments. The design includes 16 different housing types that vary in size from 45 square meters to 120 square meters to accommodate a variety of residents. Related: Wedge-shaped Sideyard champions CLT construction “By modular design and building with prefabricated CLT modules, the balance between city and nature can be brought back,” Jasper Jägers of AEMSEN said in a press release, noting the fireproof and lightweight qualities of CLT. “Energy-neutral, modular and circular construction with wood really is the future. It is lighter than traditional construction, it has good insulating properties and it provides much less nitrogen emissions. It makes sustainability and circularity accessible to everyone.” To promote sustainable living practices, BARBIZON developments would be integrated with green roofs and urban farming initiatives along the roofs and terraces. The shared green spaces — known as a “green valley” — would be accessible to all residents to help build a sense of community while providing habitat for local flora and fauna to boost biodiversity, thus bringing back a “balance between city and nature.” Photovoltaic systems could also be installed on top of the building to generate renewable energy. + AEMSEN Images via AEMSEN

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Prefab apartment proposal wants to make city living more sustainable

Architects propose produce markets designed for social distancing

April 9, 2020 by  
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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, making a trip to the grocery store has become a stressful experience for many people around the world. To help minimize risk, Rotterdam-based design studio Shift architecture urbanism has developed self-initiated designs for hyper-local micro markets to make shopping for food faster, safer and more accessible. Designed with a 16-square grid and three market stalls, the open-air proposal emphasizes flexibility and mobility as well as social distancing. The traditional open-air fresh produce markets have long been an important part of the Netherlands. However, their existence and the livelihoods of some fresh produce vendors have been threatened during the coronavirus outbreak; while some of the large weekly or semi-weekly street markets have stayed open in some parts of the country, the city of Rotterdam has closed all such markets. Related: Pop-up prefab hospitals proposed as healthcare centers during pandemics While Shift architecture urbanism acknowledges that supermarkets have not been closed and that some people have access to online shopping, it believes that the shutdown of street markets harms vulnerable, lower income groups by forcing them to congregate and shop at more expensive supermarkets. The architects’ hyper-local micro market proposal would preserve access to open-air markets for basic food needs while maintaining social distancing with a one-person-per-cell policy in the market’s 16-square grid setup. Constructed from flexible and mobile units, each market would have one entrance and two exits. To further limit time customers spend in the grid, the three market stalls — each selling a different kind of food, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products or meat — would offer a pre-packaged bundle of goods instead of separate products. “Shift’s proposal is to keep the vital function of the fresh produce markets fully intact, even strengthening it, while at the same time minimizing its potential role in spreading the virus,” the architects explained. “Its former model of concentration has to be replaced by a model of dispersion, both in space and time. This is done by breaking down the large markets into so-called micro markets that are spread over the city and opening them up for a longer time. Instead of you going to the market, the market is coming to your neighborhood. These hyper-local markets are open at least 5 days a week instead of twice a week to further reduce the concentration of people.” + Shift architecture urbanism Images via Shift architecture urbanism

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Architects propose produce markets designed for social distancing

Fully circular office can be sustainably demounted and rebuilt in weeks

April 2, 2020 by  
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In its latest example of circular construction, Dutch architecture firm cepezed has completed Building D(emountable), a modern structure that can be fully demounted and is currently located in the heart of Delft. Designed as a building kit of prefabricated parts, the office raises the bar for sustainable architecture in the Netherlands, which aims to make all construction activities fully circular by 2050. Building D(emountable) was created as part of an office complex mostly housed in historic buildings on a centrally located site that cepezed purchased from Delft University of Technology in 2012. Over the years, the architecture firm repurposed the existing historic buildings into offices; however, it opted to demolish the site’s single non-historic structure due to its poor condition and to make way for new construction. Completed in late 2019, Building D(emountable) provides a modern counterpart to its historic neighbors. The building houses office space; the current tenants are app and website developer 9to5 Software and game developer Triumph Studios. Related: Amsterdam’s new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy “Building D(emountable) has exactly the same footprint as the existing building that was no longer good and was demolished,” cepezed said of the four-story building, which encompasses nearly 1,000 square meters. “In addition to being demountable and remountable, the structure is also super lightweight: the use of materials is kept to an absolute minimum. The building is also completely flexible in its arrangement, has no gas connection and is equipped with heat recovery .” Apart from the concrete ground floor, all of the building components are modular and dry-mounted to allow for speedy construction, which takes a little over six months. The building structure — from the steel skeleton to the lightweight Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) floors — was assembled onsite in just three weeks. Double-glazed panels were mounted directly onto the steel structure to create walls of glazing that give the building the appearance of a large, glass cube. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Fully circular office can be sustainably demounted and rebuilt in weeks

BREEAM-certified renovation for 70s modernist icon in Amsterdam

January 28, 2020 by  
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MVSA Architects has dramatically breathed new life into Amsterdam’s iconic Rivierstaete — a monolithic 1973 modernist office building on the Amstel — with a sustainable and architecturally sensitive makeover that connects the building to the riverfront and surrounding community in a way unlike ever before. Completed last year, the renovation has earned a BREEAM Very Good distinction for its future-proof design that emphasizes flexibility as well as energy-saving technologies. The addition of green roofs and terraces help absorb stormwater runoff to make the building “Amsterdam Rainproof.” Located in the south of Amsterdam , the eight-story Rivierstaete was originally designed by architect Hugh Maaskant as Europe’s largest office building in the early 1970s. In recent years, the massive modernist building has struggled to attract tenants and, in 2013, international real estate company Vastint purchased the structure in a public sale and tapped MVSA Architects to lead the redesign. Instead of taking the easier option of demolishing and constructing a new building on site, the team decided to embrace the original design with a renovation. Critical to the redesign was opening up the building to the surroundings, which necessitated replacing the original pinched band of windows on the white-tiled facade with floor-to-ceiling glass . The new glazed facade, along with planted roof terraces added at different levels, gives the building a more open and inviting feel. The roof terraces, roof gardens, and green roofs also help provide water buffering and retention. Related: Amsterdam’s new circular archives building sustainably generates all of its own energy The glazed facade helps bring a greater amount of natural light indoors, which have now been rendered completely asbestos free to contribute to a cleaner and healthier working environment. Daylight control and motion sensors as well as solar shades provide optimized and energy-efficient climate control. The interior layout has also been reconfigured for flexibility to ensure a future-proof design.  + MVSA Architects Images via MVSA, Barwerd van der Plas, and Philip Lyaruu

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