Hundreds of red plastic crates are repurposed into a public mosque in Indonesia

January 22, 2020 by  
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One green-thinking firm, Parisauli Arsitek Studio , has managed to find a way of giving new life to hundreds of discarded plastic crates . Located in Tangerang, Indonesia, the Kotakrat Pavilion is a 440-square-foot “Space of Kindness” that can be used for various purposes. In its initial form, the pavilion is currently being used as a small mosque, complete with a covered prayer room. According to the design team, the inspiration for the pavilion stemmed from the desire to create vibrant public spaces out of discarded items. Plastic crates are common containers for just about any type of product, but they are often left on curbsides to be sent off to landfills. Related: 30,000 recycled water bottles make up this 3D-printed pavilion The Kotakrat Pavilion is a modular structure that can take many shapes and sizes and will suit almost any type of function. First, the pavilion is put together by stacking hundreds of plastic crates on top of each other to create the outer shell. The crates are then screwed together and reinforced with steel pillars to create a sturdy, durable building. In this particular case, the public pavilion was designed to be a small mosque. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, and the call to prayer happens five times a day. Having a covered area with several staggered roofs during these times is quite welcomed, especially during inclement weather. Several crates near the pavilion’s entrance are designated as storage space for shoes. Further inside, there are several “shelves” to store prayer rugs. Throughout the modular pavilion , several hanging plants give the mosque a warm, welcoming atmosphere. According to the studio, the process of repurposing waste into public spaces is a practice that all communities in today’s world should adopt. “KotaKrat is a ‘ruang kebaikan’ (space of kindness) that starts with the diversity of people’s needs, behavior and habits,” the team said. “The existence of this space of kindness adapts to the context, location and needs of its user community. Space of kindness may appear as a stall, prayer room, emergency posts, shelter, bus stop and others.” + Parisauli Arsitek Studio Via ArchDaily Photography by via Parisauli Arsitek Studio

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Hundreds of red plastic crates are repurposed into a public mosque in Indonesia

Carbon-negative snack company AKUA offers kelp jerky and pasta

January 22, 2020 by  
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Amidst the growing awareness about our planet’s climate crisis , there is now a burgeoning need for more sustainable food resources. In recent years, seaweed has been quite a catch for health-conscious consumers, in turn, making kelp, a brown macroalgae, one of the more in-demand types of seaweed offerings. As such, startup business AKUA is set to enhance the sustainability of the snack industry with its product line of kelp-based jerky and pasta. “I started the company when I was an adviser to GreenWave , a nonprofit that trains ocean farmers. When I asked the farmers what they truly needed, they answered, ‘We need your help creating a consumer market for kelp.’ So, I started sending out 5-pound bags of frozen kelp to all my chef friends across the U.S.,” said Courtney Boyd Myers, co-founder and CEO of AKUA. “We came up with dozens of cool products and hosted tastings in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. One chef came up with kelp jerky, burgers and sausages — all vegan and made from kelp and mushrooms. That made me think, ‘Wow, what if we could create a line of meat alternative products from one of the most sustainable sources of food on the planet?’ Together with my co-founder Matt Lebo, we set out to launch AKUA and to bring regeneratively grown, kelp-based products into the world.” Related: Eating seaweed could reduce cows’ methane production Why is kelp a good idea for food sustainability? For one, Harvard University has documented that kelp plays a significant role in reducing global warming . That is attributed to kelp’s rapid growth rate, typically about 2 feet per day. Kelp is also able to naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, mitigating rising temperatures and climate change. Kelp is also appealing because of its nutritional value. According to the University of California – Berkeley’s Wellness page , kelp, as a seaweed, “is a rich source of several vitamins, including vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and B vitamins.” Because kelp has been called a sea vegetable, alongside other seaweed, it likewise “contains vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting.” Kelp’s health benefits extend beyond vitamins, as documented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) FoodData Central site . Kelp is abundant in several minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and potassium. A University of California – San Francisco Medical Center study even documented that kelp has more calcium content than leading vegetables such as bok choy, collard greens, corn, curly endive and even kale. Kelp is particularly important for its high iodine content, a characteristic it has in common with other brown seaweeds. Iodine is vital for the human body to optimize thyroid hormone production, metabolic functions, immune response and the health of both the central nervous system and skeleton. Pregnant women especially need iodine for the proper bone and brain development of the fetus. Besides that, iodine helps remove free radicals from human blood cells, in essence counteracting the free radicals responsible for accelerating a cell’s aging process. Because of the health value of kelp, AKUA sought to leverage this as it developed its first product. “After studying trends in high protein snacking meets plant-based eating, we decided on creating a high-protein, soy-free vegan jerky made of kelp! In fact, today, Kelp Jerky is the world’s first meat alternative snack made from ocean-farmed seagreens and the only high-protein, soy-free vegan jerky in the market,” explained Myers. With the dawn of this new decade, AKUA has been seeking new and innovative ways of presenting kelp into meals. This is why it also offers kelp pasta as another nutritious product. “We have always wanted to introduce this product because eating kelp in this way is how we fell in love with kelp to begin with, literally just dehydrated kelp cut into noodle form,” continued Myers. “But because it is such a simple product with almost zero barrier to entry, we wanted to wait until after we had introduced Kelp Jerky, which is an incredibly innovative product — Time magazine named it one of 2019’s Best Inventions.” When asked about other food innovations and future plans for AKUA products, Myers eagerly shared, “In March, at Expo West 2020, we will debut our Kelp Balls, a slightly sweet snack focused on gut health that we created in partnership with next-gen microbiome company Biohm Health. If Kelp Jerky is all about protein and energy, our Kelp Balls will be all about improving your digestion.” Besides being a food innovator, AKUA is also committed to leaving a positive impact. One of the ways it does this is by donating part of its annual profits to GreenWave , a nonprofit devoted to training the next generation of ocean farmers. AKUA additionally partners with Parley for the Oceans , an environmental organization that raises awareness about the fragility of our oceans and seeks to prevent ocean pollution . Yet another key value for AKUA is its dedication to collaborating with local ocean farming communities. “Today, 98% of all seaweed is sourced from Asia, while AKUA sources 100% of its kelp from U.S.-based ocean farmers,” Myers said. “In fact, we are one of the first companies to utilize the emerging U.S.-based supply chain of ocean-farmed kelp, supporting the creation of hundreds of new jobs in our coastal communities.” Minimizing its carbon footprint is another crucial mission for AKUA. Last year alone, the company’s Kelp Jerky product utilized “40,000 pounds of regeneratively ocean-farmed kelp … and pull[ed] 2,000 pounds — 1 ton — of carbon from the sea,” according to Myers. “As a comparison, this is the same amount of carbon created by just 300 cheeseburgers. Based on our conservative projections for our Kelp Jerky product alone, by year five, we will be removing 1 million pounds of harmful carbon from our seas each year. With this data in our pocket, we are positioning Kelp Jerky as a ‘ carbon negative snack’ and building a brand that raises awareness for the climate crisis, food sustainability and ocean health.” + AKUA Images via AKUA

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Carbon-negative snack company AKUA offers kelp jerky and pasta

Lush Sky Green towers are the first of their kind in Taichung

January 8, 2020 by  
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Taichung, Taiwan has taken yet another step toward becoming a greener, more livable city with the recent completion of Sky Green, a sustainably minded, mixed-use development. Designed by Singaporean architecture firm WOHA , the high-rise is named after its inclusion of sky gardens and terraces that are filled with lush, subtropical greenery. The project’s integration of green spaces is expected to raise the city’s standards for “skyrise greenery” in future sustainable developments. As an expert in sustainable high-density design, WOHA was initially invited to share its knowledge in 2012 upon invitation by the Taichung City Government and Feng Chia University. The architects’ “Breathing Architecture” exhibition was showcased in Taichung to help inform the government’s new regulations to turn Taichung into a more sustainable, smart city. Following the exhibition, property developer Golden Jade tapped WOHA to design a green mixed-use development in the heart of Taichung — the first of its kind in the city. Related: A disused railway will become a sustainable green corridor in Taiwan “The architectural strategies of Sky Green are new for Taichung, but they have been developed by WOHA over the last 25 years, and many prototypes have been successfully built in Singapore and other regions,” the architects explained in a statement. “The design of Sky Green has been adapted to suit the local culture and subtropical climate, as well as to ensure safety during earthquakes and typhoons. As the first high-density development in Taichung that also provides high amenity with its recreational facilities and ample integrated green spaces, Sky Green will be influential in defining the new benchmark of sustainability and skyrise greenery for the city’s future developments.” The project comprises two rectangular plots with two 26-story residential towers that consist of apartment units stacked atop retail spaces spanning the ground floor to the third level. Large recreational facilities for indoor and outdoor use are integrated throughout the towers. True to the development’s name, the buildings are also engineered with protruding balconies to accommodate sky gardens and even tree planters that give the building a “breathable facade.” Residents can also enjoy a series of sky terraces located at every five floors that emphasize a plant-filled, indoor-outdoor living environment. + WOHA Photography by Kuomin Lee via WOHA

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Lush Sky Green towers are the first of their kind in Taichung

Green-roofed sports center adds sculptural appeal to the Augustow riverfront

December 20, 2019 by  
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Polish architecture firms PSBA and INOONI have recently completed a strikingly angular water sports center in the heart of Augustow, Poland that shows how architecture can double as a public sculpture. Topped with a green roof, the facility complements the surrounding park with a facade clad in untreated Siberian larch. The building serves as a canoeing training base and is the first phase completed in a multiphase masterplan. The architects were awarded the bid to design and build the Augustow canoeing training base after winning a 2016 architecture competition for the development of recreational spaces along the Netta River. The project will include a multifunctional sports field, pump track, playground and scenic rest areas. Located on the West Bank of the Netta River, the newly built sports center was placed at a highly visible and picturesque bend of the river that is visited by locals and tourists alike. Related: FAAB reimagines Warsaw’s largest public square as a solar-powered cycle park The single-story facility features a triangular plan with a flat, landscaped green roof with a slight slope. The building is organized in two parts: a water-facing hangar for canoe and motorboat storage with a platform and a “workshop” area for the local canoe club. The “workshop” area includes gathering space for training and meetings, locker rooms, a gym with panoramic water views, a club room, a sports equipment warehouse and public bathrooms. The interiors feature a minimalist aesthetic that matches the exterior appearance. “Its characteristic form has associations with movement and dynamics,” the architects explained. “The sloping walls create distinctive arcades, highlighting the entrances and framing the views. The visual sight of the building is changing depending on where we look from. The dynamic form of the object allows an access from a mini stand into the roof of the hangar, where the observation deck is located.” + PSBA + INOONI Photography by Bartosz Dworski via INOONI

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Green-roofed sports center adds sculptural appeal to the Augustow riverfront

Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdams Rijnhaven area

December 19, 2019 by  
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In a bid to revitalize the area of Rijnhaven, a Rotterdam port dating back to 1895, Blueroom and Urban Crossovers have designed a proposal for a new, mixed-use development that could serve as a leading example of sustainable urbanism. The project, titled ‘Rotterdam Next Level! — SmartMoves 51.90,’ proposes high-density development built from low-waste, prefabricated architecture in a range of building typologies, from high-rises to floating creative communities. The development is also designed with carbon-neutral targets and aims to increase biodiversity on both land and water. As a delta city, Rotterdam has had to cope with flooding for years as the majority of the urban area sits below sea level. Building on Rotterdam’s experience and reputation for resilient design, Blueroom and Urban Crossovers want to turn the Rijnhaven area into a forward-thinking example of urbanism that addresses climate change, climate adaptation and housing shortages all at once. Related: ODA to transform Rotterdam’s historic post office into a vibrant destination “A development that is attractive and accessible for all, but also, a development that adds a unique urban condition to the entire metropolitan area,” the designers said. “A district that further enforces the innovative and sustainable ambitions of Rotterdam. Thus, setting an example for climate adaptive urbanism for urban deltas around the world.” The proposal calls for a mixed program of hotels, retail, cafe, offices, makerspaces and dedicated facilities for housing international institutions focused on fighting climate change. The masterplan would also include a wide variety of residences that serve all market segments, from floating creative communities to single-family houses with gardens to high-rises with apartments and penthouses. Prefabricated construction would be used for efficiency and to minimize disruptions to the surrounding areas. Green public spaces, a floating park and a park promenade would be woven throughout, with areas set aside for urban vegetable and fruit farming. + Blueroom Images via Blueroom

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Carbon-neutral, prefab development targets sustainable urbanism for Rotterdams Rijnhaven area

Vegan holiday cookie recipes for every plate and palate

December 19, 2019 by  
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Any day is the perfect day to celebrate cookies, but when the holidays roll around, we really itch to get baking. Whether you’re planning to hand out cookie gift plates, donate to a bake sale or leave a treat for Santa, many people in your community will be seeking out vegan holiday cookies, so we’ve put together a list of possibilities. Get baking! Chocolate peppermint crinkles You just can’t go wrong with a combination of chocolate with peppermint all topped with sweet, powdered sugar. Besides, peppermint is a hallmark ingredient for any recipe in December. Thanks to My Darling Vegan , this recipe requires basic ingredients, so there’s no need to hit the specialty store for anything unusual. Note there is a recommended 4-hour refrigeration period, so keep that in mind if you are in a rush to make a treat for an upcoming cookie exchange. Related: How to make delicious, raw almond cranberry Christmas cookies The process for these yummy treats is pretty straight-forward. Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients and then mix everything together. After refrigerating the dough and rolling it into balls, you’ll dip them in granulated sugar and powdered sugar. For the best results, pull them out of the oven just before they are completely cooked. This will help them stay soft. Gingerbread The season isn’t complete without gingerbread, and while you may have already decorated a gingerbread house , you can whip up a batch of these gingerbread cookies for a quick activity. No one says you have to decorate them, though, so we’re on board with turning them into drop cookies, too. These cookies might be rated as ‘intermediate’ on the vegan grocery supply list, because they do include ingredients like vegan butter and a flax egg. But if you frequently cook vegan recipes, you might already have these in the house. Check out this recipe at Loving it Vegan , which even includes a vegan frosting for decorating if you choose to do so. Tips: Make sure you don’t roll your dough too thin, and use a cookie cutter with sharp edges for the cleanest cuts. Dip your cookie cutter in flour between each use to help the dough slide out easily, and be generous in flouring your surface to keep the dough from sticking. Pumpkin sugar cookies Why decide between pumpkin cookies or sugar cookies, when you can have both? From The Minimalist Baker , these cookies are topped with a buttercream frosting enhanced with the flavors of pumpkin and warming spices. This recipe also calls for vegan butter, but there’s nothing surprising on the ingredients list. If you’re not familiar with arrowroot, it’s an alternative to cornstarch. For your milk substitute, you can use any non-dairy option you prefer . In the frosting, the pumpkin butter is optional, but really, why wouldn’t you? When it comes to making the dough, factor in some chill time, meaning that it needs to get cold in the fridge or freezer before baking. While baking, make sure to pull them from the oven right when they become a light, golden-brown color. Molasses cookies Perhaps it’s the smell of pine in the air or the thoughts of sweet treats for Santa’s arrival, but there is just something that connects molasses to Christmastime. So as the holidays approach, whip up a batch of molasses cookies for visiting guests or as a gift to conscientious co-workers. These Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies by Making Thyme for Health offer spicy sweetness that is vegan, gluten-free and sans refined sugars. Even with all the things they are not, the ingredient list is straightforward. As an added bonus, they’ll make your house smell amazing! Chocolate chip cookies Chocolate chip is a year-round classic that everyone loves. This version from Sweet Simple Vegan includes easy-to-find ingredients and has earned high reviews. Use coconut oil as a healthier option to vegetable oils, toss in your favorite vegan chocolate chips and use whichever plant-based milk you prefer. Related: Impress loved ones with these homemade foods for holiday gifts Be sure to read the notes regarding whether to chill the dough or not. It’s optional depending on your preferred style of cookie. Oatmeal cookies This recipe from The Minimalist Baker is a mix of oatmeal with delicious fruits and optional nuts and seeds for a versatile recipe that you can make your own. Choose your favorite ingredients to suit the tastes of your friends and family. The ingredients list itself is very short, so have fun playing around with different combinations. Tips: Read through the recipe completely before getting started. It does a good job of anticipating your concerns. Is it too wet? Too sticky? Unlike many other cookies, these don’t spread out when they cook. Rugelach While many holiday cookies center around Christmas traditions, those who celebrate Hanukkah wouldn’t want to suffer through the season without the traditional rugelach on the plate. So here’s a vegan version straight from the website of Sunnyside Hanne . Enjoy! Images via Shutterstock

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Vegan holiday cookie recipes for every plate and palate

Experimental, net-positive energy development in India is a prototype for future sustainable housing

December 12, 2019 by  
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Communities around the globe are struggling to find feasible options for affordable and sustainable housing to meet the needs of growing urban populations. Now, one forward-thinking firm, Auroville Design Consultants , is leading the charge with Humanscapes, an 18,000-square-foot, net-positive energy, experimental housing complex located in Auroville, India. Designed to house up to 500 residents, the sustainable housing complex will be studied for years to come in order to create a future model of sustainable living. According to Suhasini Ayer, director of Auroville Design Consultants, Humanscapes is an experimental project designed to create affordable and sustainable housing for approximately 500 inhabitants. The ambitious project will be used as research into creating future developments that can withstand the impacts of climate change . Related: Green-roofed community center champions sustainable design in London The project was based on three main principles. The first was creating a  resilient structure that could meet India’s urban planning challenges. Secondly, the complex would be made available to house young adults, students and researchers in order to create an active and collaborative society, where the residents learn from each other. Finally, the habits of the community would be monitored for many years in order to create a field test prototype to help design future projects. The large development was built by local workers using locally sourced materials, such as clay. Additionally, the complex will be net-energy positive thanks to its off-grid systems that work on various renewable energy sources, including solar power. The project has several water collection and recycling systems. The landscaping around the apartments incorporates several drought-resistant native plants and trees. There is also ample space set aside for organic food production, which is a hallmark of the project. Future tenants will also be able to enjoy the spirit of community within the Humanscape design. Using the co-housing concept of living, the development was laid out in a way to foster interaction among neighbors.  This “functional fusing” of living, working and recreational environment creates an open learning campus that could offer a real-world prototype for future urban development in countries around the world. + Auroville Design Consultants Via ArchDaily Photography by Akshay Arora and John Mandeen via Auroville Design Consultants

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Experimental, net-positive energy development in India is a prototype for future sustainable housing

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

Shmas Bangkok Green Link wants to add over 30 miles of greenways to Bangkok

December 6, 2019 by  
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At the 2019 Thai Urban Designers Association exhibition, landscape architecture studio Shma unveiled the Bangkok Green Link, an urban revitalization proposal for boosting the livability of the Thai capital with over 30 miles of greenways. In a bid to reconnect the city to nature and encourage residents to adopt healthier lifestyles, the project links major neighborhoods and transportation nodes with lush linear parks with diverse programming. Vibrant and chaotic, the city of Bangkok is infamous for its urban sprawl and haphazard city infrastructure that resulted from rapid growth and lack of urban planning. To accommodate rapid development, many of the city’s green spaces and canals were paved over; an inadequate transportation network has made the city of 8 million people a victim of intense traffic congestion and air pollution . To make Bangkok a greener and more sustainable city, Shma developed the Bangkok Green Link project with the concept of “Revitalize City Infrastructure to Relink Urban Life.” Related: Thailand’s first LEED Platinum “vertical village” to rise in Bangkok Proposed for the heart of the city, the Bangkok Green Link scheme includes 54 kilometers of new greenways with up to 10,800 large trees that can absorb approximately 1,620 tons of carbon dioxide a year and filter 3,580 tons of dust annually. The designers also believe that the greening effort can boost land prices, inspire residents to adopt healthier lifestyles and counteract the urban heat island effect. The greenways — which would be developed alongside canals, railways, existing sidewalks and under expressways — would provide much-needed public spaces. Shma has organized the proposed greenways into a set of 28-kilometer-long outer ring greenways and 26 kilometers of crossover greenways. The outer ring would consist of four main links: a 10-kilometer-long Mixed Urban Activity link split into six sections for different programming; the Sathorn Link that passes through a major road in Bangkok’s central business district; the Rail link that turns the space beside an underutilized railway into a bicycle expressway ; and the Vipawadee link that provides a linear parkway and bikeway that connects inner Bangkok to the north side of the city. The 26 kilometers of crossover greenways comprise eight sub-links to better connect formerly disconnected neighborhoods. + Shma Designs Images via Shma

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Shmas Bangkok Green Link wants to add over 30 miles of greenways to Bangkok

Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future

December 5, 2019 by  
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Italian architecture firm Luca Curci Architects has unveiled the Vertical City, a futuristic proposal for urban development comprising a series of modular, zero-energy skyscrapers anchored into the ocean floor. Envisioned as a completely self-sufficient settlement, the utopian city promises “healthier lifestyles” for the vertical city-building’s residents. The thought experiment was recently presented for the first time at the Knowledge Summit 2019 in Dubai last month. The Vertical City proposal comprises a super-tall, mixed-use residential building at its core surrounded by and connected to three civic-oriented towers and three crescent-shaped leisure buildings. All buildings would be built using modular, prefabricated elements that can be repeated horizontally as well as vertically. The Vertical City can also be expanded in parts and would be anchored into the sea bed close to the mainland. Related: WOHA unveils a lush, net-zero Singapore Pavilion for the 2020 World Expo The cylindrical buildings in the development are clad in photovoltaic glazing and punctuated with hexagonal openings that promote circulation of light and air. The central, 750-meter-tall residential tower would consist of 10 modular layers — each layer consists of 18 floors and includes a mix of homes, offices, stores and other facilities — to host a total of 25,000 people. The building would also offer more than 200,000 square meters of green space, which includes the public garden at the top of the building. “We will build a new way of living,” Luca Curci said in a press statement. “More sustainable . With more interconnected communities programs. Deleting suburbs. Reducing poverty.” In addition to the 25,000 people housed within the central residential tower, the Vertical City would service over 100,000 people who would travel to the city for work, school and medical care in the three adjacent towers that house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities and educational institutions. The three crescent-shaped buildings, called the Moons, offer lifestyle amenities such as hotels, wellness and spa centers, sport centers and shopping malls. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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