Eco-friendly, affordable housing emphasizes walkability in Milan

April 14, 2021 by  
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International design firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel (ACPV) has unveiled designs for the Cascina Merlata Lot R7/2, a social housing complex that will function as a “city within the city” where residents can walk or ride their bicycles to everything they need for their daily lives. Created as part of the Cascina Merlata pedestrian-friendly masterplan that ACPV developed back in 2011, the new, 12,600-square-meter residential complex consists of two structures that have already obtained a ‘Class A’ rating from Italy’s Energy Performance Certification in recognition of their energy-efficient, low-impact design. The development is expected to welcome its first residents this month. Located on the outer edge of Milan within walking distance of the Fiera Milano grounds that host the annual Salone del Mobile furniture fair, Cascina Merlata Lot R7/2 is part of a masterplan that aims to improve livability in the city by providing access to essential services and retail destinations within a 15-minute walking radius for residents. Guided by principles of environmental sustainability and community-building, the architects have also integrated multiple parks, public spaces and a series of pedestrian and bicycle paths into the plan.  Related: A LEED Gold-targeted office will enhance worker wellbeing “The goal here is to foster a sense of community and belonging while also innovating the way we design residential buildings,” said architect Antonio Citterio, co-founder of ACPV. “The masterplan and architectural guidelines for Cascina Merlata play a crucial role in ensuring that the new residents feel at home and have access to all the services they need.” The development’s two new residential buildings are located between Via Daimler and Via Pier Paolo Pasolini and feature ground-floor retail to engage the public realm. A rooftop garden that tops the residential complex is also visible from street level. The project was designed with BIM and features a 10-story structure that overlooks Via Pier Paolo Pasolini as well as a second structure that consists of two volumes — a south-facing, 17-story volume and a north-facing, 25-story volume — connected with a single core. + Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel Photography by Giulio Boem via ACPV

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Eco-friendly, affordable housing emphasizes walkability in Milan

MAD unveils solar-powered "Train Station in the Forest"

February 26, 2021 by  
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This summer, the Chinese city of Jiaxing will welcome an innovative transportation hub that will be topped with a lush “borderless park” to bring nature back to the urban environment. Designed by international design firm  MAD Architects , the 35.4-hectare project will feature a new Jiaxing Train Station topped with solar panels, a pair of plazas, a commercial zone, a transit hub and a renovation of the adjacent People’s Park. The main transportation and commercial functions will be tucked underground while an expansive green roof surrounded by trees will grow atop to create a “train station in the forest.” Currently under construction with completion expected by July 2021, Jiaxing’s “Train Station in the Forest” will blend MAD Architects’ signature futuristic forms with designs rooted in the city’s historic and cultural contexts. In addition to  green-roofed , disc-shaped transit buildings located at the site’s transportation hub in the south, the project will feature a one-to-one scale rebuilding of the historic Jiaxing Train Station. This station was an early 20th-century building that served as an important junction for the Shanghai-Hangzhou Railway Line, but it was destroyed by war in 1937. The old station will be faithfully recreated at the heart of the site with the help of scholars, consultants and experts in heritage architecture; once complete, the single-story building will serve as the Jiaxing Railway History Museum.  Related: MAD’s ethereal Yiwu Grand Theater will “float” on Zhejiang waters To bring natural light deep into the underground train station, the architects have designed a system of skylights and glass curtain walls to flood the subterranean concourse, platforms and waiting halls with daylight. The station’s “floating” metal roof will be topped with  solar panels  and greenery to blend in with the surrounding trees. The train station is expected to accommodate 5.28 million people per year with a peak-time capacity of 2,300 people per hour. The train station will be connected to the mixed transit hub in the south via an underground commercial zone that will also include above-ground retail spaces.  “MAD believes that a city’s best  urban spaces  should belong to everybody,” the architects said. “Architecture, sunlight, nature, and fresh air should work in harmony to be shared by all; creating an environment where people can both live and travel with convenience, dignity, and comfort.” + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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MAD unveils solar-powered "Train Station in the Forest"

TAMassociati envisions a zero-emissions, future-proof urban development

December 3, 2020 by  
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Venice-based architecture firm TAMassociati has teamed up with sa_partners and Franco Giorgetta Landscape Architect to design Porta del Ticino — Urban Living Lab, a future-proof masterplan for a large post-industrial site in the southern Swiss city of Bellinzona. Developed as part of an invited competition by the Canton, Municipality and SBB-Swiss Railways, the urban proposal reimagines the heart of the cantonal capital as a living organism that flexibly adapts to change over time with a systemic and non-linear approach. The large-scale masterplan also aims to achieve zero emissions with 100% renewable energy. The Porta del Ticino — Urban Living Lab outlines a plan to redevelop a 120,000-square-meter site currently dominated by the industrial complex of the Officine Bellinzona, the area’s most important heavy-industry company with over 130 years of history that will be relocated to a new site within a few years. To offset the future industrial development outside of the city, the design team has centered their proposed masterplan on a large public green lung — dubbed the Almenda — that will comprise 6.4 hectares of biotic area and 3.2 hectares of agricultural area to naturally regulate the city’s climate. Related: SOM designs a low-carbon waterfront community for China’s “most livable city” In addition to a spacious re-naturalized area, the development will also emphasize the site’s history with visual connections to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bellinzona Castle and the “Cathedral,” an industrial stone building iconic of the Officine Bellinzona factory. A mix of commercial, educational, administrative, residential and other development typologies will be integrated along a “green kilometer” that will link the river and mountains along a north-south route. The masterplan would be implemented in phases to allow for modular and flexible growth at variable speeds with reduced environmental impact. To ensure sustainable growth, the project follows an “eMergetic evaluation” concept that considers the entire building lifecycle to minimize the city’s carbon footprint . The proposal also includes planned energy policy objectives with zero-emission targets, renewable energy systems and environmental monitoring. + TAMassociati Images via TAMassociati

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TAMassociati envisions a zero-emissions, future-proof urban development

SOM designs a low-carbon waterfront community for Chinas most livable city

October 14, 2020 by  
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Global design firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has unveiled designs for Jiuzhou Bay, a new 5.6 million-square-foot mixed-use neighborhood in coastal Zhuhai, which was recently named China’s most livable city by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Selected from a shortlist of 10 global design firms, SOM’s proposal targets a low-carbon scheme that makes use of the region’s abundant natural resources — the sea and the sun — to generate renewable energy and reduce the development’s environmental footprint. Located in China’s southern Guangdong province in the Pearl River Delta, Zhuhai is a burgeoning tech hub with a reputation that has been recently elevated by a connection to the international finance and tourism centers Hong Kong and Macau via the longest sea-crossing bridge in the world. The new development will be a beacon for sustainable growth in the tech-heavy region that the architects say may soon rival Silicon Valley. The proposed Jiuzhou Bay development will include state-of-the-art office spaces, residences, retail and infrastructure, such as a robust transportation hub that offers connections to land, sea and rail across more than 40 acres. Related: Historic Zhuhai sugar factory to be reborn as a low-carbon cultural hub The city’s maritime history has also greatly informed the architects’ design decisions, particularly with the five modular canopies that wrap around the three sides of a 1.8 million-square-foot port to form a series of covered pedestrian alleyways, a lively retail environment and interlinked courtyards along the waterfront. Solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems would be integrated into the canopies. The masterplan also includes a lighthouse-inspired skyscraper with offices, a 20-story Ritz Carlton hotel , a sky bar and an observation deck. “The forms of the canopies are inspired by the local legend of the Fisher Girl and reflect the fishing nets commonly seen on the coastline throughout the region,” said Sean Ragasa, design director at SOM. “We wanted our design to resonate with the culture and history of Zhuhai, and to evoke a story that’s familiar to everyone who lives there.” + SOM Images via SOM

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SOM designs a low-carbon waterfront community for Chinas most livable city

UNStudio designs sculptural, driverless metro stations for Doha

October 1, 2020 by  
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UNStudio has completed the first 37 stations for Qatar Railways’ Doha Metro, one of the most advanced and fastest driverless metro systems in the world. With phase one and three metro lines — Red, Green and Gold — now complete, citizens of Doha who previously relied primarily on cars now have access to an efficient and reliable public transit service that will grow over time. To create a strong station identity for the new metro network and encourage public transit habits, UNStudio tapped into urban design principles to turn the eye-catching stations into attractive public spaces rooted in Qatari architecture and culture. In collaboration with the Qatar Rail Architecture Department, UNStudio has created a vision for all stations in the new Doha Metro Network based on an extensive set of design guidelines, architectural details and material outlines as laid out in the newly developed ‘Architectural Branding Manual.’ The comprehensive manual provides a framework for the design of different station types that respond to local contextual differences while integrating visually cohesive elements shared across all stations, including wayfinding , passenger flow and daylight penetration.  Related: Zaha Hadid’s 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar adapts for future use The concept design for all of the Doha Metro stations are rooted in the notion of Caravanserais, a type of roadside inn for travelers (caravanners) historically common across the Middle East, including in Qatar . With dramatic vaulted ceilings, a rich mother-of-pearl effect interior and uniquely Qatari ornamentation and material palette, the Caravanserai-inspired stations strengthen Qatari identity while encouraging social interaction within beautiful public spaces. “We are going to move differently in the future,” said Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. “Mobility is changing fast, from the introduction of autonomous vehicles to urban cable cars and the Hyperloop . The mobility hubs of the future have to respond to and cater to these changes. In order to encourage the use of more sustainable forms of transport, these stations not only have to ensure smooth passenger flows, but they need to truly appeal to the public; to be places they want to visit and return to.” + UNStudio Photography by Hufton+Crow via UNStudio

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UNStudio designs sculptural, driverless metro stations for Doha

Presidential debate gives 10 minutes to climate change

October 1, 2020 by  
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It seemed like the whole 90 minutes would be spent slinging insults about family members, interrupting and telling each other to shut up. But with 10 minutes to go of the first 2020 presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace said, “I’d like to talk about climate change .” The results were revealing. Whether or not you agree with Joe Biden’s plans for getting the U.S. out of its environmental mess, just about any viewer would have to admit that Biden has a plan. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump works hard to avoid the topic. Related: Biden vs Trump on environmental issues and climate change “I want crystal clean water and air, we now have the lowest carbon … if you look at our numbers now we are doing phenomenally,” Trump said during the debate, adding that people were very happy that he withdrew the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord immediately on taking office. When pushed, Trump admitted there might be something to climate change. He then repeatedly turned the conversation to California’s fires , blaming the state for lack of forest management. Wallace tried to steer Trump back to the topic. “But sir, if you believe in the science of climate change, why have you rolled back the Obama Clean Power Plan, which limited carbon emissions in power plants? Why have you relaxed fuel economy standards that are going to create more pollution from cars and trucks?” Trump again brushed off the question, this time talking about the safety of new cars. When Biden got his chance to speak, he gave a quick sketch of his $2 trillion green energy plan , which would include replacing federal cars with electrical vehicles and weathering millions of homes to cut heating and air conditioning needs. Trump repeatedly interrupted, insisting that Biden’s plan was synonymous with the much-maligned Green New Deal and saying it would cost $100 trillion. The 10-minute climate change debate was a surprise to viewers, as it wasn’t on the pre-released list of debate topics. The six planned topics were the economy, Supreme Court, coronavirus pandemic, race and violence in cities, election integrity and the two candidates’ past records. While climate change is relevant to people planning to continue living on Earth, it’s not the top issue in most voters’ minds. According to a Pew Research Center poll, 68% of Biden supporters cited climate change as “very important,” compared to 11% of Trump supporters. Overall, 42% of voters cited climate change as very important. The top three issues, according to the Pew poll, were the economy, healthcare and Supreme Court appointments. Via EcoWatch , HuffPost and Grist Image via Milkovi

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Presidential debate gives 10 minutes to climate change

Midcentury warehouse becomes a community-building asset in Mexico City

September 30, 2020 by  
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In a bid to sustainably create more inclusive and connective space in Mexico City, local architecture practice BAAQ’ has rehabilitated Dr. Atl 285 — an industrial structure from the late 1960s — into a mixed-use community hub topped with a productive urban garden. Located in the neighborhood of Santa Maria la Ribera just west of the historic center, the adaptive reuse project responds to the area’s ongoing densification process that has attracted a younger population in recent years. In adapting the building into a community-forward space rather than tearing it down to start anew, the architects have also carefully preserved the cultural and architectural heritage of the the structure while minimizing the project’s environmental impact. Primarily built with reinforced concrete beams and columns, Dr. Atl 285 was originally used for industrial purposes. The architects left the reticular concrete structure exposed in a nod to the building’s past while inserting new cubic elements of wood as part of a new, flexible, modular design that can adapt to different program needs of varying sizes and configurations. The permeable construction also allows natural light to pass through the building. Related: A lush rooftop oasis flourishes on this renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City In addition to a rooftop urban farm that produces food for all users, the architects have created a series of common spaces in the outdoor areas. A water treatment plant was installed beneath the building’s old courtyard to eliminate drainage discharge. By recirculating all of the water used, the water treatment plant helps save up to 45% of water. A garden was planted atop the water treatment plant to provide additional outdoor green space and to improve air quality.  “The project aims to demonstrate the adaptability of architecture in the existing resources, the regenerative potential of the city, and the ability to generate sustainable projects nowadays,” the architects explained in a project statement. “All this to preserve the cultural and architectural heritage through the restoration of these constructions and projects, not only to maintain the presence of each neighborhood but also to reduce the environmental impact of real estate development.” + BAAQ’ Phototography by Jaime Navarro via BAAQ’

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Midcentury warehouse becomes a community-building asset in Mexico City

Wellow is the eco-friendly deodorant you’ve been looking for

September 30, 2020 by  
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Hopefully, deodorant is a daily part of your life. You use it after a shower, you buy more when you run out, but you probably don’t think about deodorant much. Well, it’s time to start. Most deodorant comes in a plastic tube with a plastic top, both of which eventually get tossed in the trash. Every time you go through another tube of deodorant, you add to the plastic waste problem that experts predict will soon overwhelm the world. But now you have a new, eco-friendly option: Wellow deodorant. How is Wellow different from other deodorants? This one creates no waste. Wellow contains no plastics, no toxins and no reason to feel guilty. The product’s paper tube uses 95% recycled post-consumer paper , making it biodegradable. In fact, the tube will completely biodegrade in less than three months. Even the print on each tube uses an eco-friendly plant-based ink. This deodorant’s natural formula includes quality ingredients designed to be just as effective as mainstream deodorants. Hand-poured into every paper tube, Wellow deodorant contains no aluminum , sulfates, parabens, or similar harmful chemicals. Additionally, this cruelty-free formula isn’t tested on animals. If you’re an eco-conscious consumer, you may have tried so-called Earth-friendly deodorants in the past and felt disappointed. Thankfully, Wellow protects both the environment and your armpits. Specially designed to not clog pores, the highly concentrated formula provides up to 24 hours of protection against sweat and odor. Interested buyers can find Wellow in four styles: activated charcoal , coconut and vanilla, bergamot and citrus and fragrance-free. Made with ingredients such as coconut oil, arrowroot powder, shea butter, almond oil and beeswax, Wellow keeps its formula natural. Already tested by hundreds of wearers, this new product’s ongoing Kickstarter seeks funds to get this product on the market. Soon, Wellow may change the way people look at deodorant; hopefully, it will change the way people dispose of their deodorant, too. + Wellow Images via Wellow

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Wellow is the eco-friendly deodorant you’ve been looking for

Third Nature imagines a zero-emission regenerative city district in Bergen

September 28, 2020 by  
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An old logistics port and ferry terminal in Bergen, Norway has been reimagined into an inspiring zero-emission district where nature-based climate adaptation, a community-based sharing economy and renewable building materials will take center stage. Copenhagen-based architecture studio Tredje Natur (Third Nature) is the mastermind behind this grand vision, a 40-hectare mixed-use development known as the future Dokken. The design follows principles of a regenerative city, from the emphasis on public transportation and pedestrian-friendly spaces over car-oriented transit to the inclusion of low-carbon construction strategies, such as adaptive reuse and building with renewable and reusable materials. Developed for the Bergen Municipality in close collaboration with Entasis, Matter by Prix and MOE, the future Dokken regenerative city concept seeks to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement . Located along the water, Dokken is continually being expanded upon with surplus materials, such as granite rubble, from infrastructural works around the city. The architects aim to better connect the area’s enlarged footprint with two primary elements: a new urban “allmenning,” a climate streetscape that builds on Bergen’s existing urban fabric with unique public spaces, and an all-encompassing, nature-based loop that would create a new 4.5-kilometer coastline. The coastline would introduce a massive, publicly accessible green space connected to the natural harbor-front. Related: Futuristic eco-city powered with renewable energy is unveiled for the Maldives To inject new life into the area, the first phase of the Dokken development would include The Sea Quarter, which comprises the Institute for Marine Research, the Directorate of Fisheries and the new Bergen Aquarium housed within the old Harbor Warehouse; The Sugarhouse Square, a new public space; and Under the Bridge, a place for experimental urban interventions and grass-roots initiatives located under the Puddefjord Bridge. New housing would be built of renewable and reusable materials, while car parking would be tucked underground to create a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly area with close access to light rail. In total, the urban development encompasses 535,000 square meters of mixed-use, cultural and civic buildings.  “Creating a regenerative city is about integrating sustainability into all the discrete parts if the city, great or small,” the architects said. “In a sustainable future, everything — from our everyday consumer habits to the total ecological footprint of the city — must work together in circular processes, which won’t destroy our nature and climate. The sustainable city must correct the sins of the past by recreating lost narratives and reuniting separate areas and processes — and, in the case of Dokken, by creating new connections and reuniting Bergen with the water.” + Tredje Natur Images via Tredje Natur

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Third Nature imagines a zero-emission regenerative city district in Bergen

Former railway yard to receive a green transformation in St. Petersburg

August 3, 2020 by  
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Dutch architectural firms KCAP and Orange Architects have teamed up with A.Len Architectural Bureau to redesign St. Petersburg’s former Tovarno-Vitebskaya railway yard into a new mixed-use district with extensive greenery. Created as a continuation of Glorax Development’s Ligovsky City neighborhood development project, the new adaptive reuse proposal will combine historic structures with contemporary architecture to inject new life into the area while paying homage to the site’s history. A variety of green space will be incorporated into the masterplan, from linear parks and landscaped boulevards that follow the historic railway tracks to more intimate courtyards and walkways interspersed between the new buildings. Located in the southeastern part of St. Petersburg’s “gray belt”, the adaptive reuse proposal would transform a former railway yard on Ligovsky Prospekt into a predominately residential district for 8,600 people. The 30-hectare site would also include restaurants, cafes, leisure facilities, street retail, service companies, sports facilities, four kindergartens, one primary and one secondary school and both underground and surface parking lots.  Related: A forgotten railway takes on new life as a new cultural destination in France The architects have inventoried the existing architectural structures and plan to reuse many historic elements — such as small buildings, blue cranes, tracks and poles — into the long and linear public parks that will be developed along the main railway tracks from north to south. The project’s main entrance will be located on the primarily mixed-use northern end where the new “Borovaya” metro station will stand and serve as the new urban center for Ligovsky. In contrast, the southern part of the site will feature taller buildings, three of which will create a strong building edge nicknamed “The Trio.” “We want to create an active and landscaped environment where you can feel the history of the railway and live with the people around you,” said Patrick Meijers, partner at Orange Architects. “An area that simultaneously is smoothly connected to the city of St. Petersburg.” + KCAP + Orange Architects Images via Orange Architects

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Former railway yard to receive a green transformation in St. Petersburg

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