Mitosis: sustainable living modules cloaked in plants

December 15, 2020 by  
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Together with Arup , Amsterdam architecture practice GG-loop has unveiled designs for Mitosis, a modular building system that emphasizes regenerative, sustainable living and urban development. Designed with biophilic principles and parametric design tools, the prefab timber modules would be optimized for flexibility and scalability to allow for construction in a variety of urban settings. Options range from off-grid, single-family homes to high-density, mixed-use zones. The project builds on GG-loop’s pilot project Freebooter , an award-winning pair of prefabricated, cross-laminated timber apartments completed last year in Amsterdam. Named after the biological process of a single cell dividing itself into two identical daughter cells, the Mitosis project was designed to mimic a flexible organism that evolves to adapt to different settings. The scalable buildings would be made up of individual, rhomboid-shaped modules stacked together to create shared outdoor spaces and private terraces. These outdoor areas would be generously planted with greenery to reconnect residents with nature and to offset the urban heat island effect . The lightweight timber units would primarily consist of cross-laminated timber, which would be reinforced with hybrid concrete construction in larger scale developments. Related: This new 3D-printed house was built by a portable robot in just 48 hours “Mitosis adopts the 14 principles of biophilic design and articulates the relationships between nature, human biology and the design of the built environment,” the architects explained in a project statement. “Its construction is organic and flexible, providing large areas of urban and vertical farming, greenhouses, wildlife corridors and integration of habitat creation, that encourage shared outdoor activities among residents.” Collective living is a central tenet of Mitosis, which would not only provide shared outdoor activities but also amenities to bring neighbors together and encourage them to participate in environmentally friendly activities. Social cohesion could help to promote residents’ health and well-being, which would also be boosted through a natural materials palette, flexible layouts and easy access to greenery in both private and public areas. + GG-loop Images via GG-loop with Hexapixel

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Mitosis: sustainable living modules cloaked in plants

Biden promises US-led climate summit in 2021

December 15, 2020 by  
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President-elect Joe Biden is making it clear that he won’t be fooling around regarding climate change. He has pledged to rejoin the Paris Agreement on his first day in office and to hold a global climate summit within the first 100 days. Last week, 75 countries met in a virtual Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the UN, France and the U.K. The U.S, still led by outgoing President Donald Trump, was conspicuously absent. Other major nations that weren’t participating included Russia, Brazil and Indonesia. Related: US formally exits Paris climate agreement Biden does not want the U.S. to be left out of these crucial goings-on and is itching to get busy on climate change. “We’ll elevate the incredible work cities, states and businesses have been doing to help reduce emissions and build a cleaner future,” Biden said in a statement. “We’ll listen to and engage closely with the activists, including young people, who have continued to sound the alarm and demand change from those in power.” He repeated the pledge of aiming for net-zero carbon emissions in the U.S. by 2050 and emphasized that this would boost the economy. “We’ll do all of this knowing that we have before us an enormous economic opportunity to create jobs and prosperity at home and export clean American-made products around the world.” To be successful, the world needs all oil-dependent countries to sign up for the net-zero emissions plan. The Paris Agreement is centered around countries having nationally determined contributions (NDCs), detailed plans about how they will severely curtail fossil fuel use and reduce emissions. The current NDCs were submitted in 2015 but need to be rewritten. As it stands, current NDCs will result in more than 3 degrees Celsius of warming, way overshooting the goal. The world will be watching for the Biden’s plan. “We look forward to a very active US leadership in climate action from now on as US leadership is absolutely essential,” said UN Secretary General António Guterres. “The US is the largest economy in the world, it’s absolutely essential for our goals to be reached.” Via The Guardian Image via Gage Skidmore

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Architects envision a lush, solar-powered oasis to cool Abu Dhabi

November 13, 2020 by  
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Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) has named European architecture firm Mask Architects’ palm tree-inspired Oasys proposal one of the 10 winners in ‘Cool Abu Dhabi’ . This global design competition sought sustainable solutions for mitigating the urban heat island effect . The winning design calls for a solar-powered refuge with modular, palm tree-like structures that would provide protection from the elements and respite from the heat with solar-powered misters and lush landscaping. The multipurpose, pop-up spaces could also be used for a variety of functions, from cafes and and retail stands to exhibition spaces. Mask Architect’s Oasys proposal draws the eye with its massive palm tree-inspired structures that the architects said would be topped with solar panels and integrated with lights and nozzles that spray a cooling mist into the air. Dubbed the Artificial Breathing Palm modular structure system, the design includes a “foundation base” that conceals all of the technical equipment — including water and electric lines as well as solar batteries — as well as five triangular module types of varying sizes. The modules can connect together in different configurations to fit a variety of settings, while lush landscaping would be planted around the modules to give the space more of an oasis-like feel. Related: Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center blends into the landscape “The ‘Oasis’ design concept has been influenced by the need to create a greener city as well as creating a real oasis in the middle of the city,” Mask Architects explained. “Besides the the flexible and replaceable design line, any outdoor functions are adapted easily into ‘Oasys’ conceptA mechanism that can be replicated easily to form a network of hubs and centre points in which they act as islands of rest places, socialising and sociable communal for the collective and community.” The ‘Cool Abu Dhabi ’ global design competition concluded earlier this year and received over 300 entries from nearly 70 countries. The 10 winning entries were announced online and each received $10,000 each in prize money.  + Mask Architects Images via Mask Architects

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ON-A wants to renature Barcelona by greening the Camp Nou stadium

August 26, 2020 by  
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In a bid to bring greater green space to Barcelona, local architecture firm ON-A has proposed converting the city’s Camp Nou football stadium into a 26-hectare forested park. Dubbed Nou Parc, the design blankets the Camp Nou stadium and surrounding facilities with an undulating green roof strong enough to support a forest of trees. The architects estimate that the resulting park space could produce 15,000 kilograms of oxygen per day and absorb 25,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide daily. Opened in 1957 as the home stadium of FC Barcelona, the 99,354-seat Camp Nou football stadium is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe. According to the architects, less than 10% of the stadium grounds have been allocated to green space, which results in an urban heat island effect and also creates a divide between the neighborhood of Les Corts from the University Area. When the stadium is not in use for sports events or private functions, the massive area is typically disused.  Related: ZHA gets the green light for world’s first all-timber soccer stadium in England The Nou Parc proposal aims to bring greater functionality to Camp Nou with a publicly accessible green and leisure space that would not only better link the nearby neighborhoods but also improve urban air quality . The new park would be created in collaboration with tech company Verdtical so that the undulating green roof blanketing the buildings would be controlled by sensors and artificial intelligence capable of minimizing water consumption. Rainwater would also be collected and stored in two onsite lakes for irrigation of the park.  “Renaturing cities and gaining quality space for citizens is no longer just an interesting idea, it is a necessity,” said Jordi Fernández, co-founder of ON-A Architecture. “We are aware that cities must be re-naturalized, and that green provides unquestionable benefits for health, but the issue is not only green, the debate revolves around blue as well: the water . We cannot be green if that implies an excessive use of resources. The technology for the control of water consumption has come a long way and allows us to innovate and optimize green areas in urban spaces.” + ON-A Images via ON-A

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ON-A wants to renature Barcelona by greening the Camp Nou stadium

Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

August 26, 2020 by  
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People around the world have watched with increasing horror as Amazon forest destruction has accelerated in recent years. Now,  U.K.  officials have proposed a law to make large companies operating within the U.K. comply with environmental laws and show where their products originate.  The new law would cover  soy , rubber, cocoa, palm oil and other commodities. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey, 67% of British consumers want more government oversight on companies, and 81% think businesses should be more transparent about product origin. Related: Indigenous Amazon communities use tech to protect the forest “This consultation is a welcome first step in the fight to tackle the loss of our planet’s irreplaceable natural wonders such as the Amazon and in the pursuit of supply chains free from products that contribute to deforestation ,” said Ruth Chambers from the Greener UK coalition. Additionally, this law could require businesses to publish purchasing details for commodities like soy and  palm oil , to prove the resources were produced following local laws protecting natural ecosystems. Failure to do so would incur fines. Critics say the plan needs ironing out, especially regarding details on penalties. Though delayed, the COP26 climate conference will occur in Glasgow in 2021. In the meantime, the U.K. works to show international leadership on environmental and climate concerns, including deforestation. About 10% of the world’s known species make their home in the  Amazon , which is the largest rainforest and river basin in the world. Already 20% of the Amazon biome has disappeared, and matters are getting worse. At the current rate of deforestation, WWF estimates that more than a quarter of the Amazon biome will be treeless by 2030. The new U.K.  law  remains in the planning stage. Emphasizing the law’s significance, Chambers said, “The evidence linking deforestation with climate change, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonotic diseases is compelling. A new law is an important part of the solution and is urgently needed.” Via BBC and WWF Image via Pexels

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Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

Stefano Boeri proposes SUPERVERDE urban greening modules

August 13, 2020 by  
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In a bid to bring more greenery to our cities, Milan-headquartered architecture practice Stefano Boeri Architetti has proposed SUPERVERDE, a series of scalable, modular soil blocks designed for greening urban spaces. Described as “a modular portion of living soil,” the SUPERVERDE units are meant to be installed in both public and private urban areas with the intent of strengthening connections between people and nature. The design would also help increase biodiversity, decrease the urban heat island effect and demineralize soils. Best known for his Vertical Forest project — residential towers topped with trees — architect Stefano Boeri is passionate about embedding greenery into cities worldwide. Unlike his typical projects, the SUPERVERDE concept focuses on adaptable, vegetated architecture and consists of a permeable and flexible surface that could be measured and purchased by the square meter. These modular units of living soil would be designed to support a variety of plant life and, by extension, fauna biodiversity.  Related: France’s first Vertical Forest will add a “hectare of forest” to Paris’ skyline “SUPERVERDE, which can be used for always new and different landscapes, is composed of a fine edge, available in various finishes, which contains all the technological equipment necessary for the maintenance of vegetation and supports the tectonic movements of the ground,” the designers explained. “Its versatility and adaptability to any type of urban open space — public, semi-public or private — is the main feature of the project, which allows to demineralize impermeable surfaces thanks to its modular system, suitable to cover even large areas.” The modular concept proposes two main sizes. The first is small, with surface areas ranging from 9 to 20 square meters capable of containing up to three tall trees, 20 medium-sized shrubs and numerous grasses and perennials. The second, extra-large version ranges from 60 to 100 square meters and is capable of hosting a dozen trees or 1,600 medium-sized shrubs and grasses. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images via Stefano Boeri Architetti

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Luca Curci Architects designs a zero-energy smart city of the future

May 11, 2020 by  
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According to the United Nations, 5 billion people are projected to live in cities by 2030. In response to the growing challenge of urban populations and their accompanying carbon emissions, Italian design practice Luca Curci Architects has proposed The Link, a self-sustainable “vertical city” with the goal of net-zero energy operations. Designed to accommodate 200,000 people, the futuristic proposal will be presented to cities around the world. The proposed Link project comprises four buildings, the largest of which would serve as residences with apartments, villas, common areas and a variety of green spaces within 300 floors. The 1,200-meter-tall residential tower would be connected to three other buildings that range from 650 to 850 meters tall and house offices, government departments, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail and other amenities. The architects want to blanket the vertical city with more than 120,000 trees and 2 million plants of over 150 species to help clean the air, reduce the urban heat island effect and provide residents with a closer connection to nature. Related: Luca Curci Architects proposes a self-sustainable Vertical City of the future “It is the first smart city ‘conscious oriented’ that will prevent urban sprawl , produce and storage energy, improve air quality, increase urban biodiversity and create a healthier lifestyle,” architect Luca Curci said. The city temperatures, humidity levels, carbon dioxide levels and lighting systems would be managed with an AI-equipped urban operating system.  The Link would be powered by several renewable energy systems, including wind and solar. The city would also make room for on-site food production and farming that follow zero-waste policies so that each community can create its own food supply. All transport would be entirely powered by renewable energy systems; external and internal docks for public transit systems would be located in the tower basements. Each tower would also be equipped with drone ports. + Luca Curci Architects Images via Luca Curci Architects

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A lush public park grows on the roof of a luxury Wuhan mall

November 20, 2019 by  
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When Los Angeles-based design studio 5+design was tapped to create a high-end mall in Wuhan, China, the firm was also given the opportunity to create a publicly accessible green space — an amenity in decline in the city due to rapid development. As a result, the 164,000-square-meter Wuhan North Pavilion supports a lush public rooftop park that’s accessible from the ground level and provides active and passive spaces for children and adults alike. Designed to foster community and an added sense of identity, the park’s seasonal planting palette references Wuhan’s pastoral landscapes and the region’s agricultural past. Built to span the entire length of the mall, the rooftop public park features a mix of walkways, recreational spaces and children’s play areas. The landscape design helps define a variety of active and passive spaces, while the plant choices create “an ecological haven.” Greenery is also integrated into the street-level landscape and along the other parts of the architecture to soften the appearance of the building and to give the mall a more human scale. Related: Studio NAB wants to rehab parking lots into energy-producing urban gardens “With Wuhan’s steady decline of green space in the face of rapid development, Wuhan North Pavilion preserves a place to observe and absorb nature that goes beyond the standard use of today’s retail spaces,” the designers explained in a project statement. “The addition of careful planting with variety in scale, openness and intimacy creates a new kind of public space within the city that fosters community and an added sense of identity.” In addition to the rooftop park’s benefits in fighting the urban heat island effect , the Wuhan North Pavilion incorporates energy-saving features such as LED lighting, fans, pumps and chillers. Water usage has been reduced thanks to low-flow urinals and bathroom fixtures fitted with sensors. Low-emitting materials, adhesives, sealants, paints and coatings were also selected to help reduce indoor air pollutants. + 5+design Images via 5+design

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A lush public park grows on the roof of a luxury Wuhan mall

Modular materials make up an eco-friendly restaurant in Taiwan

September 3, 2019 by  
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In Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung, architect Ken Lo of Chain10 has crafted an eco-conscious restaurant for the third location of the Japanese grill restaurant chain Tan Zuo Ma Li. Dubbed the Green Isle after its abundance of greenery, the project emphasizes reduced carbon emissions with its lush landscaping, use of locally sourced and recycled materials and emphasis on natural lighting and ventilation. The architect also used modular metal components to make it easier for the client to replace, disassemble, transport and reassemble parts as needed. Spanning an area of nearly 6,000 square meters, the Green Isle features not only a restaurant space but also new green space that includes a nearly 120-meter pool and over 250 large trees around the property. A bridge was built across the pool to lead guests to the restaurant’s main entrance. At night, special mood lighting is used to illuminate the landscape. Related: MVRDV-designed market in Taiwan will grow food on a massive green roof The architect used minimalist decor to highlight the natural characteristics of the materials used — such as the locally sourced marble and the exposed concrete exterior walls — as well as the surrounding environment. “In order to respect the relationship between the building and the green environment, the decorations of the indoor dining area were simplified,” the firm explained. “There was nothing overly complex or intricate but rather a focus on simple, modern choices.” The landscaping and the large pool also help create a cooling microclimate that counteracts Kaohsiung’s tropical heat. According to the architects, the Green Isle can be 2 degrees Celsius cooler than other parts of the city, which is built mainly of concrete and susceptible to the urban heat island effect. Walls of glass flood the interiors with natural light, while roof overhangs and solar shades mitigate unwanted solar gain. + Chain10 Photography by Moooten Studio / Qimin Wu via Chain10

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This treehouse-inspired home in Los Angeles wraps around a cedar tree that grows through the roof

September 3, 2019 by  
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Known for its seemingly endless urban sprawl and noisy traffic, Los Angeles makes finding serenity no easy task. But Los Angeles- and Berlin-based firm Anonymous Architects has managed to create a soothing design that sits perched up high in a forest just a short distance away from the bustling cityscape. To blend the home into its idyllic surroundings, the architects incorporated a number of wooden elements into the design, including reclaimed cedar siding  and a massive tree that grows straight up through the middle of the home. Located in Echo Park, California, the 2,400-square-foot residence is embedded onto a steep hillside. Although the topography was challenging to say the least, the designers managed to use it to their advantage. Related: This off-grid retreat in Ohio was inspired by a treehouse According to the architects, the goal from the outset was to preserve the site’s natural features as much as possible. This meant cantilevering the home over the sloped landscape using a concrete base for support. This strategy enabled the house to sit high up in the air, giving it a treehouse effect. Cantilevering the structure over the landscape also meant that the home would enjoy more green space, both planted and natural. The layout and shape of the home was also marked by the existing vegetation. Set between three large cedars, the frame was angled to fit in between the trees. The fourth tree grows up straight up through one of the bedrooms , soaring up from the forest floor through the roof. The house, which is a rental, was conceived as two separate units that can also serve as a large family home . The main unit is comprised of two bedrooms and is designed for a family of four. From the living space, an outdoor walkway leads to the other unit with an additional bedroom, living area, bath and kitchen. If not in use as part of the main home, it can be used as an office or closed off as a rental space. Throughout the interior, homage is respectfully paid to the natural settings through the use of wood and natural light. Reclaimed chestnut flooring runs through the structure. Wooden doors, bookshelves and cabinets were also custom-made for the house. A covered wooden deck provides the perfect place to take in the forest views. In addition to its reclaimed materials, the home also boasts a number of sustainable features , including a solar water heater. The residence was built with tight insulation to keep the interior at stable temperatures during the year, and optimal natural light reduces the need for electricity during the day. + Anonymous Architects Via Dwell Photography by Steve King via Anonymous Architects

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This treehouse-inspired home in Los Angeles wraps around a cedar tree that grows through the roof

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