Traumhaus Funari transforms an old military site into affordable housing

August 5, 2021 by  
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Traumhaus Funari is an urban development on the site of a former U.S. military barracks in Germany. The neighborhood design takes a unique approach with a focus on green spaces and pedestrian access, while also creating affordable, diverse and individualized housing. Architectural firm MVRDV aims to redesign the idea of a suburban neighborhood by partnering with Traumhaus, a prefabricated home builder. Putting their strengths together has resulted in a district of homes that owners can help design from the ground up. Related: DMAA designs Residential Greenhouse in Germany The process starts with Traumhaus’ standardized housing elements. From there, owners select from a set of variations on an original design. This allows each family to customize their home with material selection, interior layouts, size and architectural design. Designs range from single-level units equipped for handicapped access or senior living to stilt houses with outdoor living spaces. Developers hope this range of options will bring together a diverse neighborhood for families and individuals. In addition to variation across what could be otherwise be a monochromatic and cookie-cutter style development, the Traumhaus Funari homes with green façades offer environmentally friendly options that burst with color, for those who choose it, and use natural materials like wood for those who prefer a more natural look. The first phase of the masterplan will add 124 single-family homes and 26 apartments to the district. Outside the living spaces, underground parking keeps the surface level aimed at pedestrian travel and play. Plants, parks, sporting areas, gardens and walkways encourage a connection with nature.  “Traumhaus has already shown how a systematic construction approach can increase affordability and accessibility in housing,” said Winy Maas, MVRDV founding partner. “With Traumhaus Funari we want to take the next step, creating a model that retains this affordability while challenging the expectations for lifestyle, and the variety of ways to inhabit a suburb or village. In Funari we are creating something that is more sustainable and more social — a model that can be replicated across Germany and beyond, to the benefit of everyone. From Traumhaus to Traum world.” + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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Traumhaus Funari transforms an old military site into affordable housing

This restaurant features a green terrace and organic garden

August 5, 2021 by  
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Created by Alfaro/Acevedo Arquitectura, Margot Restaurant in Argentina is a unique dining experience where the dining room and the open kitchen share a space. You enter the restaurant through the organic garden, where ingredients for the food are grown. This is a farm-to-table experience like no other, with an open floor plan that lets you see every stage of food preparation. You’ll see the ingredients grown outside turned into the food that gets served to your table. The building itself is constructed of wood, glass, concrete and steel. On the roof, a green terrace forms part of an orchard. Meanwhile, solar panels provide energy. Built on two lots, the building is separated from the dividing wall. This creates a service entrance, providing clear spaces for diners and staff. The basement houses the cheese, preserves, ham and wine. Moving to the kitchen, there is a fire pit and room for maturing meat . Many foods are housed, grown and harvested on-site to create that farm-to-table dining experience. Related: Café Terra is an urban oasis with raw earth surfaces in Dubai Farm-to-table is much more than a trend. When food comes directly from the garden to your table, you can taste the difference. The farm-to-table method also eliminates distributors and food services. The food is fresher, and it’s delivered directly to the restaurant . Or, in this case, harvested from right outside the restaurant. Some restaurants use the phrase “farm-to-table” for marketing purposes, and sometimes, you’re not really getting a true farm-to-table experience. At Margot Restaurant, you know what you’re getting. The garden is right outside the door. The building itself is drenched in sunlight, creating a beautiful area for the garden to thrive. The interior spaces are full of shining metal, warm woods and natural light. In the dining area, guests will find rustic decor, with wooden tables and a large bar against one wall. Everything about the innovative design is unique and green-friendly. + Alfaro/Acevedo Arquitectura Photography © Ramiro Sosa

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This restaurant features a green terrace and organic garden

Upper Los Angeles River Plan wins award for inclusive, sustainable design

August 4, 2021 by  
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The influential Upper Los Angeles River and Tributaries Revitalization Plan (ULART) has earned the prestigious global 2021 AZ Award from Azure Magazine for its plan to “recalibrate natural urban waterways by deploying nature-based solutions to create new community space and help rectify decades of neglect.” In an international competition commissioned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), the ULART plan by Studio-MLA stood out for its comprehensive vision for 300-plus project site opportunities for the Upper Los Angeles River and its tributaries, taking the win in the Urban Design Visions category of the competition. The competition received over 1,200 project entries from 57 countries in the 10 designated categories. Related: Jiangyin urban development by BAU honors humans, history and the planet The design addresses the needs of underprivileged populations up and down the L.A. waterways and aims to reverse trends of paving natural spaces, instead planning for green beltways. “This integrated response to climate change via new green infrastructure , as well as the social infrastructure for renewed equity in cities, is urgently needed,” said AZ Award juror Marc Ryan of Toronto-based design firm Public Work. The ULART Plan is led by Los Angeles Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, Sarah Rascon of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority on behalf of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and Mía Lehrer from landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA. This combination of interests and skills culminated into a plan that supports local communities and the environment. “It was a privilege to lead this effort that begins to address environmental justice issues in communities that have historically suffered from underinvestment. The plan identifies over 300 opportunity sites for open-space amenities accessible to over 625,000 residents who live within a half mile of the river tributaries,” said Councilmember Rodriguez, the ULART Chair.  Rascon, environmental equity officer for MRCA, said the team relied on input from a variety of local representatives of municipalities, community leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and elected officials from throughout the Upper Los Angeles River watershed area. Delegates represented six cities throughout Los Angeles County, as well as dozens of Los Angeles city neighborhoods in the Upper Los Angeles River watershed . In addition to the contributions for human recreation, the plan works in conjunction with natural systems to address the historic droughts in the area. It includes the potential capture of 8,695 acre-feet of stormwater per year. Jan Dyer, principal and director of the Infrastructure Division at Studio-MLA said, “The ULART plan also provides over 1,000 miles of shaded green streets and trails, while preserving and enhancing over 6,000 acres of urban wildlife ecology.” + Studio-MLA Images by Studio-MLA and MRCA via v2com

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Upper Los Angeles River Plan wins award for inclusive, sustainable design

Sierra Nevada red fox to be listed as an endangered species

August 4, 2021 by  
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The Sierra Nevada red fox is to be listed as an endangered species following a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday. The slender, bushy-tailed fox is one of the rarest mammals in the U.S., and its population has been threatened since the 1970s. According to the federal wildlife officials, the population of the red foxes has dropped to just 40 in an area stretching from Lake Tahoe to the south of Yosemite National Park in California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a ruling that the foxes in the part of the Sierra Nevada south of Tahoe are “in danger of extinction throughout all of its range”. While the agency has admitted not having a clear number of the remaining animals , it is estimated that just about 40 are left within their range in California. Related: Critically endangered bird found alive in Hawaii “While the exact number remains unknown and is also subject to change with new births and deaths , it is well below population levels that would provide resiliency, redundancy and representation to the population,” the agency said in a statement. Several threats have been identified as the main causes of declining numbers for the red foxes. Among them are wildfires, drought and competition in coyotes. They are also threatened due to increased breeding with non-native foxes. Another factor that has affected their population is climate change . About 20 years ago, some scientists declared the red fox extinct in the Sierra Nevada region; this changed when a small pack resurfaced in 2010. California banned the trapping of red foxes in 1974, a situation that has remained to date. There have been several attempts to get the Sierra Nevada red foxes recognized as endangered species in the past without success. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the federal government to protect the animals in 2011 and filed a lawsuit in 2013 and 2019. In 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to have the foxes listed as endangered. The Sierra Nevada red fox is among the 10 North American subspecies of the red fox. With a small dog-like body, this red fox measures just 3.5 feet long and has long, pointed ears and a large tail. Via The Guardian Lead image via USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

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Sierra Nevada red fox to be listed as an endangered species

Jiangyin urban development by BAU honors humans, history and the planet

July 19, 2021 by  
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Throughout history, rivers have held a crucial role in industry as well as recreation, sometimes at the cost of one or the other. In the case of the Yangtze River, modern developers are dedicated to creating a balance that includes both. Located in Jiangyin City, Jiangsu Province, China, this particular district was pinned for regeneration, and a design competition awarded BAU (Brearley Architects + Urbanists) the winning design plan. The resulting multistage plan will see the Jiangyin industrial docklands converted into a multipurpose live/work area that softens the edges of the often overbuilt river’s edge. Related: The Toranomon-Azabudai Project puts health before business Stage one of this major project is the creation of a 4 km public realm along the river edge, and it brings with it goals to re-establish indigenous ecosystem corridors while preserving the industrial character of the area. To achieve this goal, the urban design team started by working with the natural tidal microhabitats. They provided habitats for animals as well as support to minimize degradation. Designers implemented a corridor of indigenous trees and plants in order to outline the pathway that connects the Ebizui mountain ecological node to the east with the canal eco-corridor toward the west, which was a primary goal of the project. This serves to provide biking and pedestrian pathways along the water and between districts within the development and surrounding area. To further engage physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, the plan includes sports courts, a skate park , several children’s play areas, including one in the shape of a ship, and an area for exercise. There are also gathering areas within the large pavilions and dance plazas, along with more intimate areas for relaxation, games and picnics. Honoring the deep history of the region, ship slipways, gantry cranes and rails, ship-building factory structures, jetties and numerous other artifacts will be retained. Even the pavement weaves in historical elements, imprinted with interpretive mapping of the Yangtze River. A fish restaurant also stands as a reflection on the historical industry in the region. Information stands throughout the Docklands Park reiterate the relevance of the area for visitors. + BAU Photography by Zeng Jianghe and Xiazhi via BAU

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Jiangyin urban development by BAU honors humans, history and the planet

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

October 27, 2017 by  
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In November, voters in Denver, Colorado will go to the polls to approve or disapprove a new ballot initiative that would require most new buildings of at least 25,000 square feet and some older buildings to include a green roof . The roofs would have to be covered with trees, vegetables or other plants that add aesthetic value and mitigate the urban heat island effect. Although the idea of green roofs is broadly popular, the mandate to require them is somewhat controversial. Nonetheless, supporters are optimistic that voters will ultimately approve the bold and beautiful policy to add even more green to the Mile High City. Denver’s proposed green roof mandate takes cues from Toronto , which implemented the policy seven years ago, becoming the first city in North America to require green roofs. Although San Francisco recently adopted a mandate for green roofs on new buildings, Denver would be the first to transform rooftops on existing buildings through the mandate. Supporters see real environmental and economic benefits from such a broad adoption of green roofs. A new study from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and the Green Infrastructure Foundation estimated that the adopted initiative would create 57.5 million square feet of green roofs by 2033 and generate $1.85 billion in energy cost savings and other benefits over the next 40 years. “We have all these flat roofs with all this space, and we’re not doing anything with them,” said Brandon Rietheimer, the initiative’s campaign manager, according to the Denver Post . “Why aren’t we putting solar or green vegetation up there? … We hear all the time that Denver is an environmentally friendly city, yet we rank 11th for air quality and third for heat islands.” Related: Denver food desert raises $50K for first community-owned grocery store Although the idea may be appealing, it still faces a mountain of opposition before it becomes law. “I think it would be great if we all had green roofs,” said Denver City Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman. “They’re so lovely. But the mandate is what worries me. … If you have so much support for it, then why wouldn’t the market just take care of it?” Even Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has come out against the measure, stating that it was “not the right approach” for the city. Despite heavy opposition, the initiative may prove endearing to the Denver electorate, particularly in an off-year election . Political analyst Eric Sondermann said, “I think the risk to the opposition is that it’s under the radar and it just looks good, looks cutting-edge, feels good and that no one digs into it”. Via The Denver Post Images via Denver Green Roof Initiative

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Denver might require green roofs on new large buildings

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Cities need sustainable goods delivery plans

September 26, 2017 by  
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Why roadmaps for moving people must be considered alongside future strategies for freight and logistics.

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Cities need sustainable goods delivery plans

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