New images show greenery engulfing Singapores tropical skyscraper

August 30, 2018 by  
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When we last saw local design practice WOHA Architects’ 30-story Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore, the tropical skyscraper had only begun to sprout the lush landscaping that would later overtake the building’s facade. Now, a little over a year-and-a-half later, we’ve been treated to new images of the high-rise that has become increasingly enveloped in creeping vines. This combination of nature and architecture is continued into the building’s embrace of indoor-outdoor spaces, particularly in the sky gardens designed by Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola , that feature verdant landscaping and spacious pools. Located in Singapore’s central business district, the Oasia Hotel features a sealed-off, air-conditioned tower sheathed in red aluminum mesh cladding. More than 20 species of creepers and vines grow on the facade and will envelop the exterior in a process largely helped along by the country’s humid tropical climate. The plants were also selected for low-maintenance and ability to withstand strong winds, particularly at the top of the tower. The vertical garden set against a vibrant red backdrop not only serves a striking visual component for the building, but it also helps reduce the urban heat island effect and clean the air of pollutants. Rising to a height of over 600 feet, the tropical skyscraper comprises four large outdoor spaces. Three massive verandas occupy the 6th, 12th and 21st floors, while a luxurious roof terrace can be found on the 27th floor. The roof terrace is protected from solar heat gain and noise pollution by a 10-story-tall screen constructed from the same material as the building’s red mesh aluminum cladding. Greenery also grows over the screen to give the rooftop terrace the impression of a hidden oasis. Related: This plant-covered Singapore skyscraper is the tropical building of the future Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola led the design of the outdoor spaces as well as the hotel interior. To give each of the outdoor locations an oasis-like appeal, she introduced verdant greenery and — on the 21st and 27th floors — added swimming pools lined with beautiful AGROB BUCHTAL tiles. + WOHA Architects Images via Infinitude

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New images show greenery engulfing Singapores tropical skyscraper

Off-grid Glass Cabin is built of recycled materials on reclaimed Iowan prairie

August 30, 2018 by  
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Indianapolis-based architecture and design studio atelierRISTING recently completed the Glass Cabin, a family retreat that operates off the grid with minimal site impact. Designed and built by the architects on land belonging to a sesquicentennial farm in northeastern Iowa, the property is elevated off the ground to minimize disturbance of the grasslands and floodplain. Built in the shape of a wood-framed pole barn, the low-maintenance building is powered with solar energy. Set in a clearing in the woods next to the Wapsipinicon River, the Glass Cabin derives its name from  full-height low-E insulated glazing that wraps around its northern facade. Barn-inspired timber doors slide over the northern glass front for security when the retreat isn’t used. Flanked by outdoor terraces, the elevated home includes two bedrooms, one bathroom with a composting toilet, a great room, kitchenette and screened porch within 1,120 square feet. Indoor-outdoor living is embraced throughout the light-filled abode, as is natural ventilation. Natural and reclaimed materials were used throughout the off-grid home. Western Red Cedar was used for the structural framing, barn doors, exterior and interior siding and exterior decking because of its natural resistance to moisture, insects and fire. The timber was left untreated and will develop a silvery gray patina over time to match the aged barns nearby. Natural cork was used for the flooring, while the wall cabinets were custom-built from cedar. “While primarily a three-season retreat, a Norwegian designed wood stove provides warmth for the holidays,” the architects added. Related: A net-zero modern farmhouse kicks off a sustainable community in Texas To minimize construction waste, standard lumber sizes were used. The Glass Cabin, oriented on a north-south axis, relies on passive solar strategies to keep its energy footprint at a minimum. Energy efficiency is also secured with highly efficient mineral wool and rigid insulation, achieved by using R-30 floors, an R-20 roof and R-15 walls. The white metal roof also helps to minimize heat gain. + atelierRISTING Via ArchDaily Images by Steven & Carol Risting

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Off-grid Glass Cabin is built of recycled materials on reclaimed Iowan prairie

A charming net-zero cottage in Cornwall asks $845K

August 30, 2018 by  
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A sweet English cottage that has been treated to a sustainable transformation has recently hit the market for £650,000 (approximately $845,000 USD). Set within 11 acres of a private nature reserve in the small town of Lostwithiel in Cornwall , England, this beautiful retreat offers an idyllic return to nature with a minimized environmental footprint. Updated by Guy Stansfeld Architects , the zero-energy home is powered by solar energy as well as a ground-source heat pump for heating and hot water. Spanning an area of 2,100 square feet, the home was renovated by the current owner Guy Stansfeld, who breathed new life into the historic yet decaying estate cottage over the course of four years. The house, dubbed Rosedale, has been restored in white stucco and re-organized to follow an open-plan, double-height layout spread out across a single level with four bedrooms. Completed in 2015, the updated home’s modern interiors are filled with natural light and views of the outdoors, which includes vistas of wetlands, woodland, a garden and a pond. Blonde wood paneling, vaulted ceilings and white surfaces help create an airy atmosphere. Stansfeld added an extension built with SIPs for speed of construction and superior insulation. There’s also a kitchen garden area and ample parking for cars. Related: This dream job lets you live on a Cornish island with a medieval castle All the fixtures and lighting in the home were selected for their low energy consumption. Radiant floor heating also keeps energy bills to a minimum. Since Rosedale is powered with photovoltaic panels , Stansfeld has tapped into the local feed-in tariff to recoup his electricity costs by selling surplus energy to the National Grid. This effectively brings the well-insulated dwelling to net-zero energy status. The Rosedale property is now on the market and listed through Savills with the real estate agent Ben Davis for £650,000. + Guy Stansfeld Architects Images via Savills

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A charming net-zero cottage in Cornwall asks $845K

Eco-minded Melbourne brewery breaks the mold for sustainable beer production

August 29, 2018 by  
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One innovative Melbourne-based brewery is going the distance when it comes to eco-friendly beer production. Located in the heart of Melbourne’s Docklands district, the design of the newly-opened Urban Alley Brewery incorporates a sustainable end-to-end production cycle to create its frothy cold brew without harming the environment. The innovative system includes a number of eco-friendly practices, such as an on site bio-waste plant and biodegradable can holders. Melbourne’s bustling Docklands district is a growing area with a vibrant dining and entertainment scene. However, behind the swanky new restaurants and bars is a strong emphasis on community-focused initiatives. Adding to this sense of local pride is Urban Alley Brewery, which is partnering with a local distillery to sustainably produce its tasty beer selections. Related: This Louisiana craft beer pioneer ‘went green’ long before it was cool The beer distilling process is quite complicated, requiring a rapid heating and cooling process that typically uses 3,000 times more gas than the average home. By connecting its innovative installations with the neighboring distillery, Urban Alley can exchange water at the desired temperature from the brewery to the distillery and vice versa, significantly reducing gas emissions. In addition to minimizing emissions, the brewery’s most innovative sustainable feature is its on-site bio-waste plant . This large installation enables the brewery to break down virtually any waste resulting from the production system to be repurposed as fertilizer. This process also creates natural gas, which is used to power the brewery. The brewery’s wastewater is also sent to an on-site water treatment plant for reuse. Another item on the brewery’s list of eco-mindfulness is the company’s use of  biodegradable six pack rings, which are manufactured using grain remnants. The rings not only provide a great alternative to plastic, but can be safely eaten by marine life. While many breweryies around the world are finally eschewing plastic rings for biodegradable versions, currently Urban Alley Brewery is the only brewery in Australia to implement its use. + Urban Alley Brewery Images via Urban Alley Brewery

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Eco-minded Melbourne brewery breaks the mold for sustainable beer production

UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

August 14, 2018 by  
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Dutch architecture practice UNStudio and Australian firm Cox Architecture have unveiled “Green Spine,” their proposal for the $2-billion Southbank Precinct overhaul in Melbourne, Australia. Selected as part of a shortlist that includes the likes of BIG and OMA, UNStudio and Cox Architecture have envisioned a twisting, greenery-covered high-rise for the 6,191-square-meter Southbank by Beulah site. The mixed-use development will be integrated into the urban fabric with a wide array of programmatic features and indoor-outdoor spaces. The twisting “Green Spine” refers to the landscaped space on the street level that appears to seamlessly flow upward to wrap around the two towers and culminates in the “Future Gardens” at the top of the residential tower. The low podium will comprise the majority of the mixed-use spaces and be open to both residents and the wider community. The podium will include a marketplace, retail, entertainment areas and a BMW experience center. The development’s various podiums will cater to the city’s temporary exhibitions and are flexible enough to accommodate different uses from art shows to festivals. “This multifaceted spine is created by the splitting open of the potential single mass at its core, thereby forming two separate high rise structures and causing them to reveal the almost geological strata of their core layers as they rise above a light-filled canyon,” explains UNStudio. “As a result of this design intervention, the towers that result on either side can enjoy porous city views and vastly improved contextual links. The orientation of the Green Spine enables an extension of the public realm on the podium, the continuation of green onto the towers and facilitates orientation to the CBD and the Botanical Garden at the top of the towers.” Related: UNStudio designs cocoon-like pavilion made of 100% recyclable materials The landscaped buildings are expected to mitigate the urban heat island effect, absorb noise and fight against air pollution . The “Green Spine” will be constructed with materials and textures local and native to Australia. The buildings’ high-performance glass facade follows passive design strategies, while external shading fins control solar gain. Energy and water usage will also be minimized wherever possible. + UNStudio + Cox Architecture Images via UNStudio

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UNStudio unveils twisting Green Spine high-rise proposal for Melbourne

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

This 3D-printed device could help its users breathe underwater

August 6, 2018 by  
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Japanese designer and material scientist  Jun Kamei has invented an underwater breathing device constructed with 3D printing . Kamei foresees complications arising from higher sea levels, which he believes will affect up to three billion people globally. Thus, he has designed Amphibio , a 3D-printed garment that he hopes will help those people affected by rising seas to work with nature in submerged portions of the Earth. “By 2100, a temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius is predicted to happen, causing a sea-level rise affecting between 500 million and three billion people, and submerging the mega-cities situated in the coastal areas,” Kamei explained. He believes Amphibio will become essential to our next generations, who will be forced to spend much more time in water as a result of a “flooded world.” Amphibio replicates the method that aquatic insects use to trap air, forming a gas-exchanging gill. The breathing apparatus’s microporous, hydrophobic material thus enables oxygen extraction from surrounding water while also removing carbon dioxide . Kamei, a graduate of the Royal College of Art , returned to his alma mater with a team from the RCA-IIS Tokyo Design Lab to construct the two-part accessory, which features a respiratory mask attached to the gill assembly. Related: MIT’s mind-reading AlterEgo headset can hear what you’re thinking The working prototype of Amphibio does not yet produce enough oxygen to sustain a human being. However, Kamei is optimistic. He developed the 3D-printable material filament himself, and, in the future, he hopes people can buy it themselves. As 3D printing becomes more common and readily available in society, he envisions a future in which people can print garments tailored to their own body shape – and in which Amphibio is one of their options. + Amphibio Via Design Milk and Dezeen Photography by Mikito Tateisi

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This 3D-printed device could help its users breathe underwater

Transportation’s incredible shrinking infrastructure

July 6, 2018 by  
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And what Lyft’s acquisition of Motivate means for the urban dockless bikes movement.

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Transportation’s incredible shrinking infrastructure

5 reasons companies are collaborating to end deforestation

July 6, 2018 by  
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Working together can help balance the sometimes seemingly conflicting goals of economic growth, social development and environmental protection.

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5 reasons companies are collaborating to end deforestation

New Block design offers a low-cost and sustainable solution to urban infill

June 14, 2018 by  
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Los Angeles-based architecture firm Newman Garrison + Partners has unveiled New Block, a patented “green building solution” for urban developers nationwide. Created with affordability and livability in mind, New Block offers a cost-effective strategy for landowners and developers to maximize density on smaller lots, typically two-acre urban infill sites. Elements such as multi-family housing and an abundance of open space are part of New Block’s long-term sustainable concept. All architectural units in the New Block design concept would be built with Type V wood-frame construction, while 24,000 square feet would be leftover for usable open space — 45 percent of that as park landscape. The design also includes a green roof system. The concept’s licensing structure allows developers to hire Newman Garrison + Partners or a local architect of their choice to execute the development. “The difficulties and challenges we face today are quite different than the ones we faced nine years ago,” explained NG+P Chairman Kevin Newman in a statement. “The continuing rise in land costs, construction and materials have created road blocks within the industry to develop and build a more affordable housing type within our urban neighborhoods. New Block is a bridge between lower density three-story garden walk-up apartments and four-story over podium construction typologies, a design concept that ultimately offers developers construction plans that address the constraints surrounding the maximization of density, while meeting the open space and sustainability requirements of smaller land sites at an affordable rate.” Related: Solar-Powered OnTop House Can be Added to the Top of Almost Any Urban Home New Block is a proven design concept. In 2010, Irvine-based affordable housing developer Jamboree Housing Corporation and the City of Buena Park tapped Newman Garrison + Partners to apply New Block in a project now known as Park Landing. The project has won 10 industry awards for design excellence as well as LEED Gold certification for its homes. + Newman Garrison + Partners Images via Newman Garrison + Partners

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New Block design offers a low-cost and sustainable solution to urban infill

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