Quirky youth hostel in Taiwan is made from reclaimed materials

March 14, 2019 by  
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Young wanderers traveling to the city of Hualian in Eastern Taiwan can now book a stay in a fun, quirky youth hostel made almost entirely out of recycled materials. To create the Wow Hostel, designer ChengWei Chiang  from PL Interior Design breathed new life into an existing nine-level property by using a vibrant collection of concrete, stone, wood, greenery and reclaimed materials , such as old window frames and timber. From the moment you enter the hostel, the interesting collection of building materials is clearly visible. From stone walls and a reception made out of reclaimed wood, the nine-story hostel has a energetic, youthful aesthetic. Related: Nha Trang’s first hostel built from recycled shipping containers pops up in Vietnam The ground floor welcomes visitors with a cafe and bar area that is open to everyone, from paying guests to passersby. From the first floor leading up to the second floor reception is a large vertical living wall. The reception also features a check-in desk made out of reclaimed wood paneling. The rest of the floors are split between the dorm rooms and communal places. According to the designer, the hostel layout was strategically designed to provide plenty of space to allow people to meet each other and socialize or simply hang out in the lounge area with a good book. In the main communal space, there is a large table with family-style seating. Around this area are several lounges with big, comfy reading chairs. In one of the lounge areas, a custom-made cabinet stands against the wall. Made out of reused window frames, this is used to showcase art works by local artists as well as knickknacks left by travelers that have passed through the hostel. For outdoor space, one of the floors has an open-air terrace, which features a discarded shipping container door. For lodging, the Wow Hostel offers a number of options, from an eight-person dorm with four double beds to private suites. The guest rooms’ interior design boasts an industrial vibe with exposed concrete block walls and pressed board accents. + PL Interior Design Studio + ChengWei Chiang Images via ChengWei Chiang and PL Interior Design Studio

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Quirky youth hostel in Taiwan is made from reclaimed materials

UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for The Smartest Neighborhood in the World

March 5, 2019 by  
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In Helmond’s Brandevoort District in the Netherlands, an exciting new development had boldly declared its plans to become “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World.” Known as the Brainport Smart District (BSD), the tech-savvy and sustainable initiative has taken one step closer to reality thanks to the recently unveiled spatial plans created by a design team led by  UNStudio . To be developed in phases across the span of 10 years, the Brainport Smart District will be a one-of-a-kind, mixed-use neighborhood that will adapt to users’ changing demands. Created in collaboration with Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners, Metabolic, Habidatum and UNSense, the masterplan for the Brainport Smart District includes 1,500 new residences and 12 hectares of commercial space. As a “living lab,” the neighborhood will be centered on a central park and promote a symbiotic relationship between the built environment and the landscape; the natural reserves and green space will be sustainably managed to produce food , energy and water while processing waste and providing wildlife habitat. The latest technologies will also be used to ensure the district’s success, from the application of joint digital data management to revolutionary transport systems. One of the most notable differences between the Brainport Smart District and typical developments is the construction timeline. “Design and construction will go hand-in-hand with step-by-step development,” the press release stated. “This new district aims to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and unique living concept, one which embraces experimentation and ‘learning by doing’. Brainport Smart District and the UNStudio team’s ambition is to develop a framework for urban development that will empower and motivate people and innovation.” Related: UNStudio unveils twisting “Green Spine” high-rise proposal for Melbourne The Brainport Smart District includes an area of 155 hectares — larger than 320 football fields — that gives the development ample room to experiment and grow within a flexible grid that can change depending on the users’ needs. The development welcomes both local and international users open to communal ways of life, whether in shared energy generation or land cultivation. The larger goal of the Brainport Smart District will be to raise the bar for mixed-use development, not only with its sustainable approach to materials, energy and climate adaption, but also with regards to improving biodiversity, human health and economic opportunities . + UNStudio Images by Ploomp

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UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for The Smartest Neighborhood in the World

Derelict building is wrapped in tin foil to protest lack of affordable housing in Warsaw

February 6, 2019 by  
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Polish-born artist Piotr Janowski has become well-known for turning buildings and even entire locomotives into shimmery  art installations by covering them in thin layers of tin foil. Now, the artist is back with Zabkowska 9, Take off —  a building in the heart of Warsaw that has been sitting empty and in decay for years. By wrapping the large townhouse in tin foil, the artist hopes to call attention to Warsaw’s lack of affordable housing, despite the city’s high number of empty buildings. Janowski’s latest canvas this time around is a derelict 1870 tenement building, which has survived two wold wars, located in Warsaw’s Praga-Pó?noc district. Over the years, the area has become known for its crime and drug scene, but is being rediscovered as of late. Comparing it to Brooklyn before gentrification, Janowski said he is seeking to bring attention to the building and its potential to help the city with its lack of affordable housing . Related: Artist wraps vintage steam locomotive in 39,000 square feet of aluminum foil The artist explained that he hopes this particular work will help the city prepare a future urban design that will benefit those in need while retaining the architectural history of the neighborhoods. “I believe that my aluminum installation will, for a moment, turn into a symbolic silver bridge, which will combine the dreams of the pre-war past and then the dramatic years of the city’s inhabitants during the occupation with the contemporary positive changes that are taking place so definitely in this fascinating Warsaw district,” Janowski said. “I think that this is an ideal and unique time to adapt one of the abandoned buildings for this project and symbolically make its destroyed beauty reborn.” Working with a local homeless man, Wies?aw Go??b, who lives in the building, the artist began the art installation by covering the facade in more than 600 square meters of tin foil. Using a lift, he often spent days on end painstakingly covering the building’s wooden, wood, metal and stone facade. With help from Wies?aw, his wife and about 15 young volunteers, he was able to finish the incredible art piece in about 10 days. + Piotr Janowski Images via Piotr Janowski

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Derelict building is wrapped in tin foil to protest lack of affordable housing in Warsaw

Penda unveils a futuristic micro-cabin inspired by Beijings hutongs

October 26, 2018 by  
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The micro-apartment concept has been sweeping cities around the world due to overcrowding and rising housing prices. But out of the need to provide solutions for urban housing issues, some designers are looking toward the future. Known for its innovative housing concepts, Penda has just unveiled the MINI Living Urban Cabin, designed to achieve “maximum quality of living within a minimum space” by forgoing walls almost completely. The 160-square-foot,  pod-like cabin is a futuristic, circular volume with a sleek, white facade. Designed as a temporary living space, the micro-apartment was conceptualized to offer a high degree of flexibility within a compact, open-air structure. Related: Penda unveils temporary nature-filled “village” for the Beijing Horticultural Expo Penda co-founding partner and architect Sun Dayong sought inspiration for the design in Beijing’s architectural history , specifically the city’s beloved hutongs. By putting a modern take on traditional Beijing architecture, the open-air cabin is meant to connect the residents to the community. The cabin features various volumes jutting out from the upper layer of the structure. Lined in a reflective gold cladding, these volumes have cut-outs that give the structure a playful, futuristic appearance but also allow natural light to filter into the living space. Inside, the design is divided into two living areas on either side, each separated by thin columns. In the middle of the living areas, a sitting hammock swings from the roof, inviting activity and conversation as well as providing a place to relax and read. Elsewhere in the home, transforming furnishings were chosen for their space-saving techniques that offer the ultimate in flexibility . In fact, much of the furniture was built with push, fold and rotate mechanisms to provide various uses. Even the front door folds outward, reminiscent of a spaceship. + Penda Via Archdaily Photography by Xia zhi, Laurian Ghinitoiu via Penda

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Penda unveils a futuristic micro-cabin inspired by Beijings hutongs

Wooden skyscraper city proposed for Stockholms most eco-friendly neighborhood

September 5, 2018 by  
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When Anders Berensson Architects was tapped by the Stockholm Center Party to design a new Stockholm neighborhood that would be the densest, tallest and most environmentally friendly in the city, the Swedish architecture firm responded with Masthamnen, a skinny timber “skyscraper city” elevated atop traditional city blocks. The mixed-use proposal includes a combination of residential, office and retail spaces in a pedestrian-friendly environment integrated with public parkland that connects the new district with the surrounding hilly landscape and urban fabric. Located in a valley between three hills, Masthamnen is organized into three main parts: a lower block city on the same level as today’s dock levels; an elevated timber “ skyscraper city” on top; and a series of landscaped roofs and bridges that link the development to the hilly terrain. The lower section would comprise 19 new city blocks ranging from six to 10 floors. In total, these blocks would contain 2,500 apartments, 60,000 square meters of office space and nearly 100 shops and restaurants. The wooden skyscraper city elevated atop these blocks would consist of 31 new skinny wooden skyscrapers ranging between 25 and 35 floors to include approximately 3,000 apartments with an estimated 30 shops and restaurants. Views are prioritized in the design and layout, and each skyscraper is given sufficient clearance to avoid obstructing views. Cross-laminated timber would be used as the primarily building material. Related: Nation’s first large-scale mass timber residence hall breaks ground in Arkansas “When entering the new city area you will often be at the same height as the roofs of the new district,” Anders Berensson Architects added. “Therefore we have chosen to propose a Public Park on all roofs of the lower block city and connect them with bridges. The roofs and bridges form a large public landscape that binds together all beautiful high situated promenade trails that already exist on eastern Södermalm. This way, we also make eastern Södermalm easier and more beautiful to have a stroll on.” + Anders Berensson Architects Images via Anders Berensson Architects

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Wooden skyscraper city proposed for Stockholms most eco-friendly neighborhood

Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

September 5, 2018 by  
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There’s finally hope for those tired of waiting on mile-long taxi stands at the airport. Developed by architect Steve Lee of Los Angeles-based Aprilli Design Studio , the Autonomous Travel Suite is a solar-powered electric vehicle that could revolutionize the future of travel and urban design. Lee was inspired to create the driverless  mobile suites to provide travelers with a comfortable door-to-door transportation service, complete with a memory foam mattress, kitchen and mini bar, a washroom and work space. Recently chosen as a finalist in the Radical Innovation Awards , the self-driving hotel suite would be part of an Autonomous Hotel Chain. Conceptualized as a personal rental car and hotel room, the self-driving cars are meant to be an extension of what Lee calls a “parent suite,” offering all of the comforts of a luxury suite while on the road. Related: GM unveils new self-driving car with no pedals and no steering wheel When not in use, the solar-powered cars would charge in a docking facility at the main hotel, of which the mobile unit would serve as an extension. Guests would be able to choose between different room types and sizes at different prices, and they could order custom features, such as a televisions or extra beds. The futuristic design was created with the busy traveler in mind, offering a driverless, door-to-door car service  that would allow guests to work or rest while on the go. The car interiors would include a foam mattress, a wash room and a working space, along with ample storage for luggage. In addition to the comfy living area, the suites would be built with smart glass, which can be dimmed for privacy. At the moment, the driverless hotel suite on wheels is just a concept, but Lee maintains that its real-world cost would be beneficial to travelers. Pricing would be cost-effective, because the solar-powered cars would bundle both transportation and lodging. + Aprilli Design Suite Via Curbed Images via Radical Innovation Awards

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Solar-powered autonomous car could revolutionize travel

Architects transform a derelict lot into an urban oasis in New Delhi

August 31, 2018 by  
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Delhi-based firm Harsh Vardhan Jain Architect has converted a derelict lot in South East New Delhi into a beautiful vertical home clad in glass panels and topped with a lush green roof . The architects designed the Garden Roof Parasol to be an urban oasis for a pair of newlyweds. The team ensured the home was filled with natural light and vegetation to create a sense of serenity within a hectic city landscape. The architects were approached by a soon-to-be-married couple who were looking to move in after their wedding. The building site is located on an “urban fringe” lot, between a bustling urban area and a planned settlement in South East New Delhi. The compact lot presented a number of challenges for its small dimensions, which included a one room structure, a stairwell and a courtyard. Related: A lush rooftop oasis flourishes on this renovated Art Deco townhouse in Mexico City To create a light-filled urban oasis for the newlyweds, the architects decided to use a combination of glass, steel and greenery. According to the design scheme , the strategy was to create an overarching roof over the existing structures to unify the space. By taking the design vertical, the architects could add a double height volume to the home. The new building was framed from prefabricated steel beams that were also used to create a solid platform for the roof. The existing masonry walls that were on the site were reinforced and filled with insulated glazing. An exterior ramp leads up to the entrance way — a small deck with a spiral staircase that provides access to the green roof. Related: 10 essential green roofing materials The interior living space, which is flooded with natural light thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass facades, has minimal furnishings to reduce clutter. Many of the furnishings are flexible, such as the television console with built-in storage that doubles as access to the small study built into the former stairwell. The first floor houses an open-plan living area and a small kitchenette. Throughout the space, steel and fluted glass doors slide shut to separate the rooms or open to expand the space. From the bedroom on the upper floor, a small steel spiral staircase leads to the home’s vibrant  rooftop garden . + Harsh Vardhan Jain Architect Via Archdaily Images via Nakul Jain / Harsh Vardhan Jain Architect

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Architects transform a derelict lot into an urban oasis in New Delhi

Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

August 1, 2018 by  
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Retrofitting an old house into a Passive House is a challenging feat to say the least, but when done right, it can be amazing. When Bo and Itzy decided to turn their old Victorian home in Brooklyn into a passive home, they took on the ambitious project with help from NYC-based firm  ZH Architects . The result is  powerhouse of energy-efficiency, redesigned and revamped for healthy living. Although the number of new passive home projects continues to grow, retrofitting old structures to fit Passive House requirements is still a massive undertaking rife with complications. In an interview with the architects, Bo explained that one of the biggest hurdles of their home renovation was making the space airtight. Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs “Most passive houses have been either newly built or brownstone/townhouse conversions,” Bo said. “It’s a lot easier to get this right when dealing with a rectangular box or only two exposed walls with a flat roof. With an old Victorian home like ours, there are nooks and crannies everywhere. The hardest part is really getting the house airtight, so you need to work both from the inside and the out taking great care that you don’t have any air infiltration or gaps. We used an Intello vapor barrier on the inside of the attic and a Zip System on the exterior.” The home currently has an air tightness of about 0.29 ACH (air changes per hour) which, according to the architects, is a world record for a retro-fit building. Insulation was a big factor in creating an energy-efficient living space. The architects wrapped the home in extra layers of thick, eco-friendly insulation and installed high-performance windows to create a sealed envelope. Despite New York’s bitterly cold winters and severe summer heat, the interior will sustain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. To complement this level of comfort, the interior design is light and airy, with white walls and hardwood flooring to create an inviting space. For Bo and Itzy, having a passive home was not only about monetary and energy savings , but also to focus on creating a healthy living atmosphere. Along with the home’s many efficient features, the renovation avoided all VOC paints and harmful chemicals. Instead of using polyurethane for the flooring, they went with a natural Scandinavian lye treatment which includes using a natural mixture of oil and soap. The home was also installed with Energy Star-rated appliances, solar roof tiles  and LED lighting . Of course, the process did mean making quite a few tough decisions about the home’s original features. For Itzy, the idea of getting rid of the large chimney was daunting, but by doing so, they were able to create an extra room in the attic. As another perk, they were able to install a wine cellar in the basement that uses an innovative concept for cooling. The heat pump water heater in the basement, which draws in warm air and blows out cool air, was redesigned to blow that cooler air into the wine cellar to keep the bottles cool. With this Passive House project complete, the residents and the architects hope to inspire others to take the time to retrofit old buildings for energy efficiency. + ZH Architects Images via ZH Architects

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Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

Old shipping container repurposed as a 40-foot-tall parking booth

July 10, 2018 by  
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Columbus, Ohio is now home to what is probably the world’s most unique parking booth. The firm behind the design, JBAD architects , turned an old shipping container  on its end to create a 40-foot-tall red tower that provides a striking contrast with the surrounding buildings. The new city landmark will be used as a parking attendant booth but has additional flexible space that could be used for a variety of services. Glowing bright red in the evening time, the shipping container tower was designed to stand out against the existing Columbus skyline. According to the architects, “This tower presents the parking booth as a new tower on the city’s skyline, realized at a scale both tall and small, its proportions and monolithic nature mimicking the office towers that surround it.” Related: 3 stacked shipping containers create a diving tower in Denmark The architects refurbished the  reclaimed shipping container  off-site to complete its transformation into a glowing “MicroTower.” As part of the renovation, the architects painted the structure a bright crimson with various lights that turn the MicroTower into a beacon in the night. To outfit the first floor as a proper booth, they installed a polycarbonate lift-and-fold garage door that acts as a shading canopy when open. The structure’s bottom floor was specifically designed to provide enough space for the parking booth attendant to keep an eye on the parking lot. The south and west facades of the shipping container tower have windows that overlook the entire parking area. However, there is plenty of space for other uses. As it is currently, the entire booth only takes up two-thirds of the MicroTower’s total floor space. The rest of the ground floor was left vacant to be used for a variety of services, including food, coffee takeout or bike storage. + Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design (JBAD) Via Dezeen Photography by Brad Feinknopf

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Old shipping container repurposed as a 40-foot-tall parking booth

Here’s how Paris is building the eco-community of the future

June 20, 2018 by  
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The Clichy-Batignolles eco-district aims to set a new standard in sustainable urban design.

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