Sustainable city block in Hamburg goes for gold in energy-efficiency

February 18, 2020 by  
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In Hamburg’s HafenCity district, German architecture firm blauraum Architekten has recently completed the KPTN, a new city block that fits about a dozen different functions under one roof. Inspired by the storehouses of Hamburg’s historic Speicherstadt, the mixed-use development comprises five warehouse-like brick buildings engineered for energy savings and long-term adaptability. With energy consumption levels significantly below those mandated by the German Energy Conservation Directive, EnEV 2009, the project has been entered for the HafenCity (Gold) certificate, an environmental accolade. Conceived as a “city within the city,” the KPTN comprises a cinema, the Hafenbühne stage, restaurants, bars, the Pierdrei hotel, shops, a public underground car park and 220 free and subsidized apartments with access to rooftop playgrounds and a landscaped inner courtyard . The residences range from studio apartments to three- or four-room apartments for families. Despite the diverse program, the open and flexible development that is spread over seven to eight stories — with two floors located underground — presents as a unified whole. Related: Kuehn Malvezzi tops a brick office building in Germany with an energy-efficient greenhouse “The KPTN could be seen as a modern hybrid city warehouse that is able to respond to changing requirements,” the architects explained. “Small apartments can be combined to form larger units and shop areas can be flexibly subdivided. Sustainable building is thus defined as long-term adaptability . The materials were selected with a view to a long service life: durable, weather- and abrasion-resistant surfaces and low-maintenance windows and door frames, reversible connection methods of components that can easily be replaced.” To further future-proof the development, the architects surrounded the hotel and cinema complex with a flood protection balcony. Resident comfort is elevated with innovative HafenCity windows with fixed solar screens, soundproof glazing for the sliding doors and operable windows to promote natural ventilation . + blauraum Architekten Photography by Marcus Bredt via blauraum Architekten

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Sustainable city block in Hamburg goes for gold in energy-efficiency

UNSense to develop a 100-home real-life testing environment for the future of housing

January 31, 2020 by  
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UNSense, an arch-tech startup launched by UNStudio , has announced plans to develop an adaptive neighborhood of 100 homes to explore how sustainable, smart technology can revolutionize the future of residential development. Commissioned by the Brainport Smart District Foundation, the project will be located in Brainport Smart District in the Dutch city of Helmond. The project is also part of the UNStudio masterplan for the expansion of the Brandevoort neighborhood that aims to become the “smartest neighborhood in the world.” Having recently completed a feasibility study for the “100 Homes Project” with positive results, UNSense has officially begun building three consortia to realize the project: a building consortium for constructing the homes and infrastructure; a tech consortium for constructing the innovative urban data platform that will host services related to housing, energy, mobility and health; and a consortium for service development. The 100 Homes Project will be a “Living Lab,” where data and technology will be assessed to see the effects of the neighborhood’s design on the well-being of residents, both socially and economically. In the spirit of Equal Exchange and data privacy, all residents will have access to and ownership of the data collected on them and can decide which data they would like to protect and which they would like to share. Related: UNStudio unveils sustainable vision for “The Smartest Neighborhood in the World” “Based on our findings, it is clear that technology within the urban landscape can lead to time, energy and financial savings associated with housing, mobility, food and health,” UNSense explained. “Our goal is that by developing intelligent services that connect and adapt to the needs and consumption habits of residents, basic services will become manageable and fixed costs reduced, while (net) income will increase. As a result, more time and energy can become available for people to spend on more meaningful, pleasant and healthier activities. This will increase their sense of quality of life, well-being, happiness and health.” Findings from the 100 Homes Project will help inform the UNStudio expansion of the Brandevoort neighborhood, a plan with 1,500 permanent and 500 temporary homes, green space and 12 hectares of business park. Brandevoort, which is located adjacent to the “real-life testing grounds” of the Brainport Smart District, has ambitions to not only become self-sufficient in food and energy production, but to also be recognized as the “smartest neighborhood in the world.” + UNSense Images via UNSense

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UNSense to develop a 100-home real-life testing environment for the future of housing

Zero-carbon masterplan on the water aims to revitalize Bergens urban growth

July 22, 2019 by  
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In a bid to revitalize the Norwegian city of Bergen, London-based architectural practice Waugh Thistleton Architects has proposed Trenezia, a masterplan that would transform the coastal city into a shining example of zero-carbon urban development. The mixed-use development would consist of over 1,600 homes and be built on the waters of Store Lungegårdsvann, a bay that separates the city center from the southern boroughs of the city. Energy demands and the carbon footprint would be minimized through site-specific, environmentally responsible design and the use of carbon-sequestering timber as a primary construction material for all of the houses. Created in collaboration with local architects Artec, Urban System Design, Degree of Freedom and landscape design firm East, the zero-carbon Trenezia masterplan was created for the BOB, a Norwegian housing association with a goal of building sustainably in urban areas. In addition to promoting sustainable ideals, Trenezia aims to revitalize the city center, which the architects said is currently suffering from depopulation as people move to the outskirts to live in suburban family homes. Related: Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics Edged in by mountains and water, Bergen’s city center has little land left for development. As a result, the architects decided to build on the lake. “Perfectly placed between the historic town and the new cultural arts hub to the east, the Store Lungegårdsvannet Lake is the ideal site for a new cultural and residential center,” the team explained in a press release. A new boardwalk would span the lake and serve as a ‘central spine’ that connects the public-facing elements, which includes a swimming pool and sailing club, retail, performance spaces and cafes. More than 1,600 homes would be placed behind the boardwalk . The new homes would stress intergenerational interaction and offer a range of accommodation from family houses to co-living to student flats to sheltered housing both for private sale and rent. The homes, which will be built from timber, echo the gabled rooflines of Bergen’s iconic wooden houses that helped earn the city a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. “The masterplan, by virtue of its form, responds to the local climate through the creation of solar corridors through the site to maximize sunlight and daylight into every home,” the architects said. “Residential fingers are separated by canals with individual and communal boat moorings and pontoons for residents, creating a comfortable environment where people can be healthy, happy and productive.” + Waugh Thistleton Architects Images by Darc Studio and Artec via Waugh Thistleton Architects

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Zero-carbon masterplan on the water aims to revitalize Bergens urban growth

Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

January 11, 2019 by  
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California’s Monarch butterfly population hit a record low in 2018 after dropping a whopping 86 percent from the previous year. According to the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, the total population has declined 97 percent since the 1980s, but this latest one year drop is “potentially catastrophic.” In the western part of the United States, monarchs migrate to California for the winter, traveling from Idaho and Utah. In 2017, the traditional California coastal sites like Pismo Beach, Big Sur and Pacific Grove hosted about 148,000 monarchs, but in 2018, volunteers counted approximately 20,500. Compare that population to the 1980s, says one of the study’s researchers Cheryl Schultz, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver. At that time, an estimated 10 million monarchs spent their winter in California. According to experts, butterflies are incredibly significant to the state because they quickly respond to ecological changes and warn us about the health of an ecosystem . Plus, they pollinate flowers. According to biologist Emma Pelton, if nothing is done to preserve the western monarchs and their habitat, monarch butterflies could be facing extinction. They require milkweed for breeding and migration, but in recent years pesticide use and urban development have caused the acreage of milkweed to decline. Unusually harsh weather has also threatened the monarch’s existence. Between 2011 and 2017, California has experienced one of the worst droughts on record, and this has caused ecological devastation among forested towns and fishing communities because hundreds of millions of trees have died. Not to mention, the recent deadly wildfires  that have devastated the golden state. However, the declining monarch population can be reversed if citizens and governments act now. Pelton says that gardeners can plant milkweed and towns can help by planting new trees to help monarch butterfiles 20 years from now have a new place to winter. “We don’t think it is too late to act,” Pelton said. “But everyone needs to step up their effort.” Via New York Times Image via OLID56

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Californias Monarch butterfly population hits ‘potentially catastrophic’ low in 2018

Twisting tree-like sculptures redefine a public space in Montreal

August 6, 2018 by  
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Giant twisting tree-like sculptures have sprouted in downtown Montreal—and passersby are welcome to climb to the top of its gnarled canopy. The striking art installation is the latest work of local artist Michel de Broin , who was invited by the City of Montreal to help activate the recently developed International Civil Aviation Organization Plaza (ICAO). Dubbed Dendrites after the branched projections of a neuron, the large-scale artworks are clad in weathering steel and are equipped with metal stairs with platforms for an interactive element. Spanning both sides of Notre-Dame Street in downtown Montreal , Dendrites comprises two sculptural stairways that mimic the form of trees and neuron structures. The reddish hue of its weathering steel cladding is a reference to ochre tree trunks as well as the urban site’s industrial past and iron infrastructure. “Dendrites encourages climbing through a network of alternate possible routes,” explains the project press release. “When a passer-by ascends the stairs they consistently face a bifurcation, and a decision must ensue. An apt metaphor is found in the way thoughts are formed in the human brain through the transmission of electrical impulses within a larger network of neuronal dendrites; much like the climber in the sculpture discovering the structures of his surrounding environment. From one end of the work to the other — like a neural impulse traveling across the brain — the walker climbs the stairs and ventures into the sculpture, emerging on the other side with a new perspective.” Related: Whimsically windswept cabin-like kiosks are designed to soothe urban stress The emphasis of walking ties into the redevelopment of site, which was formerly a car-centric area that was displaced as a new pedestrian-friendly and cyclist-friendly space. Dendrites’ twisting branches culminate in a series of independent viewing platforms of varying heights, allowing multiple visitors to climb and enjoy the sculpture simultaneously. + Michel de Broin Images by Michel de Broin and Jules Beauchamp Desbiens

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Twisting tree-like sculptures redefine a public space in Montreal

Green foods could clean up the construction industry

July 23, 2018 by  
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We’ve all heard of eating our vegetables, but what about building with them? A new study by Lancaster University ‘s B-SMART program will examine the effects of incorporating root vegetables – yes, vegetables – into cement production for a stronger and more sustainable way of building. The project, funded by the European Union, has brought academic and industrial stakeholders together in order to identify “biomaterials derived from food waste as a green route for the design of ecofriendly, smart and high performance cementious composites.” The program has proved successful insofar as creating a much more durable concrete mixture, with far fewer CO2 emissions from the process – all by adding some nutritious beets and carrots. Professor Mohamed Saafi, lead researcher at Lancaster University, reveals the cement is “made by combining ordinary Portland cement with nano platelets extracted from waste root vegetables taken from the food industry… this significantly reduces both the energy consumption and CO2 emissions associated with cement manufacturing.” This news comes none too soon for developers in urban areas contending with new green regulations enforced by governments both nationally and internationally. If recent trends continue, concrete production – which accounts for approximately 8% of CO2 emissions worldwide – will double in the next 30 years. Related: UN Environment and Yale present a sustainable tiny home in NYC According to Saafi, when root vegetable nano-platelets, such as those found in beets and carrots, are introduced into concrete, “the composites are not only superior to current cement products in terms of mechanical and micro-structure properties but also use smaller amounts of cement.” The initial tests have attributed this to an increase in calcium silicate hydrate, the compound which reinforces the cement, thanks to the vegetable extracts. The new concrete mixture also boasts a longer-lasting, less corrosive body and denser micro-structure, also attributed to its green food invigoration. So next time you don’t feel like eating your vegetables, just remember – they could make you stronger, too. Via Phys.org Images via Shutterstock

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Toronto plans to use its urban freeway as the roof of a massive park

December 9, 2015 by  
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The undersides of highway overpasses are usually dank and dirty no man’s lands, rife with the stench of things we’d rather not smell. Urban developers in many cities, like Madrid, Seoul, and Seattle , are removing the offending structures, and re-developing the areas into green zones, perfect for cyclists and pedestrians. In Toronto , which seems to have more than its share of vocal pro-car citizens , the solution is going to look a little different. Instead of demolishing the Gardiner Expressway, an enormous raised highway which divides most of Toronto from its gorgeous lakefront property, the City plans to use the highway as a roof for a giant extended park. Read the rest of Toronto plans to use its urban freeway as the roof of a massive park

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3 Rooms, 3 Trees and a Meadow Adorn the Roof of House S in Germany

June 7, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of 3 Rooms, 3 Trees and a Meadow Adorn the Roof of House S in Germany Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , eco design , germany , glazing , green design , green roof , House S , natural light , Roger Christ , rooftop farming , rooftop garden , sustainable design , urban development , Urban Farming

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3 Rooms, 3 Trees and a Meadow Adorn the Roof of House S in Germany

Teen makes grad dress out of math homework to raise money for the Malala Fund

June 7, 2015 by  
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A Canadian teen is bringing global attention to women rights through an unlikely medium: recycled math homework. 18-year-old Erinne Paisley upcycled her old high school math assignments into a grad dress that she’s now auctioning off to raise money for the Malala Fund , a nonprofit organization that supports girls’ rights to have an education. Paisley was inspired after seeing Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai speak at the 2014 We Day in the U.K. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Erin Paisley , grad dress Erinne Paisley , Malala Yousafzai , math homework , math homework dress , recycled math homework , women rights

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Teen makes grad dress out of math homework to raise money for the Malala Fund

Hamburg plans to build public green spaces atop noisy Autobahn

January 14, 2015 by  
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Public green space in the form of three new parks will soon cover much of the famous Autobahn, as it passes through Hamburg , Germany. The 8,000-mile road network runs through Hamburg’s city center, dividing the east and west with noisy traffic. The plan, developed by the Ministry of Urban Development and Environment, will see sections of the highway line topped with green roofs that welcome locals to enjoy the new lush landscapes. Read the rest of Hamburg plans to build public green spaces atop noisy Autobahn Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autobahn , eco design , green design , green plan germany , Hamburg greenspace , Ministry of Urban Development and Environment , sustainable design

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