University of Toronto Scarborough learning hub to welcome nature indoors

September 17, 2020 by  
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Canadian firm ZAS Architects and Denmark-based CEBRA Architecture have unveiled the design for the Instructional Centre Phase 2 (IC-2), a new companion building at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Deigned as a “dynamic learning landscape,” the building eschews the traditional boxy arrangement of rooms for a more fluid layout that prioritizes flexibility and stacks learning spaces on top of each other. In addition to a large green roof that will top the fourth floor, the new five-story building will also feature sloped garden beds and an indoor landscaped courtyard. Proposed for a site currently used as a surface parking lot, the new institutional building will offer a variety of technology-enabled spaces, including 21 classrooms of varying sizes and configurations, from a 500-seat auditorium to smaller, 24-seat learning spaces. The project will also contain 124 faculty and staff offices, study spaces, lab rooms, meeting areas and multiple co-working spaces designed to encourage peer collaboration. The ground floor will be used as a social hub with a cafe and informal gathering spaces complete with soaring ceiling heights and an open floor plan. Related: UK University unveils efficient, BREEAM-certified learning center “We envisioned a truly flexible environment that broke down traditional pedagogies and instead, encouraged a fluid learning experience unconfined by the walls of the classroom,” said Paul Stevens, founder and senior principal at ZAS Architects. “Peer-to-peer learning is emulated in all aspects of the design.” Fitted with a mix of translucent and fritted glazing, the contemporary building will be awash in natural light to promote student health and wellness while reducing the facility’s energy footprint. To further provide both mental and physical support to students, the design dedicates a state-of-the-art central floor to student health that will include counseling and mental health resources, a meditation room, a breastfeeding room, a physician and nurse office and academic advising and accessibility services. + ZAS Architects Images via ZAS Architects

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University of Toronto Scarborough learning hub to welcome nature indoors

Early learning center sustainably embraces rural New Zealand

September 10, 2020 by  
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In the rural New Zealand haven of Dairy Flat, U.K.-based architecture firm Collingridge and Smith Architects has recently completed the Fantails Estate, an early learning center for 154 babies and preschoolers. Designed to sit sensitively within its rural context, the modern building is built primarily of timber and opens up to the outdoors with large windows and areas for outdoor play. Sustainability has also been naturally woven into the design, which includes a rainwater harvesting system, onsite blackwater treatment, a high-insulated building envelope and passive solar principles. Set over 3.5 hectares of land, the Fantails Estate was conceived as a unique “luxury lodge” for children. The center features a radial plan with six individual blocks fanned out around a geometric timber canopy and centrally located car park. The six blocks comprise five individual classrooms as well as a private staff block housing the kitchen, laundry and administrative spaces.  Related: Chrysalis Childcare Centre uses existing trees as symbolic centerpieces Each classroom opens up to a shaded, north-facing terrace that connects to a large playground and countryside views. The integration of all-weather play spaces provides children with seven times the minimum area for outdoor play, with each child allotted approximately 52 square meters of individual play space, according to the architects. The sizing and orientation of the blocks are also optimized for indoor access to natural light and ventilation. Low-E glazed sliding doors emphasize the indoor/outdoor connection. A warm, natural materials palette defines both the exterior and interior, the latter of which is fitted with custom-designed cabinetry and play equipment for a cohesive feel. Steel beams and posts were minimally incorporated into the building’s timber envelope so as to minimize the center’s overall carbon footprint. In addition to a high-performance envelope that minimizes heat loss, the architects oriented the building for solar gains in winter and natural shading and thermal mass cooling in summer. + Collingridge and Smith Architects Photography by Mark Scowen via Collingridge and Smith Architects

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Early learning center sustainably embraces rural New Zealand

Former scrapyard is now a site for sustainable, solar-powered homes

January 28, 2020 by  
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Unit One Architects has turned a disused London lot into a row of dwellings with energy-saving features to meet the Level 4 Code for Sustainable Homes . Located behind a historic neighborhood of terraced Victorian houses in northern London’s Harringay Ladder district, the Cozens Place properties include solar panels , energy-efficient insulation and semi-permeable drainage to sustainably manage rainwater. Originally a residential area, this spot was hit by a V1 bomb strike during World War II. In the years following, the neglected commercial site sat unoccupied, morphing from a back-land plot into garages and eventually a working scrapyard . The disused site became a hot-spot for criminal activity because of its lack of safeguarding and general isolation. In 2013, the land was purchased through auction by Reve Developments, and planning permission was gained to transform the site back into its initial purpose. Unit One Architects designed the set of row-style homes so that the site couldn’t continue to be cut through on foot, therefore dissuading criminals and improving security for the surrounding area as well. Related: War ruins are reborn as a sustainable home in Lebanon Cozens Place consists of three two-bedroom homes with thoughtfully landscaped, private front and back gardens, off-street parking and split-level open-floor plans. The included solar panels are concealed with a 45-degree roof pitch on the top of the second house, which can be accessed by the operable skylight. Apart from the high-quality insulation, the buildings also feature a high level of air-tightness and built-in underfloor heating. Bricks were used in the profile to match the Victorian buildings located behind the new homes. The houses were also positioned on an east-west axis to connect internal and external spaces. This allowed optimal light to shine into the habitable rooms, no matter what time of day, while making the homes feel more expansive, regardless of the narrow width of the building plot. + Unit One Architects Photography by Charlie Birchmore Photography via Unit One Architects

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Former scrapyard is now a site for sustainable, solar-powered homes

Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps

January 16, 2020 by  
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If you need a little getaway, there is a beautiful, tiny cabin retreat in the Italian Alps calling your name. The Immerso cabin, which is available to rent on Airbnb , is a prefabricated timber cabin with transparent roofs and walls that allow guests to completely “immerse” themselves in nature while trying to find serenity in an increasingly stressful world. Designed by Italian architects Fabio Vignolo and Francesca Turnaturi, the Immerso cabin sleeps up to two people. Located in the fairytale-like setting of the Chisone Valley in the western Piedmont, the timber cabin is surrounded by breathtaking views. In fact, according to the architects, this pristine location is what inspired the Immerso design — to meet the “increasing human need to live strictly connected to the nature.” Related: These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours Manufactured offsite using CNC-cut birch plywood panels that slot together easily, the prefab cabin measures a total of just 65 square feet. Its transparent, A-frame roof and walls add a spacious feel to the interior; however, curtains can be drawn to provide a bit of privacy. Two large doors open completely to reveal the minimal interior, which is comprised of a double bed and coffee table. In case you are wondering, there is a shared bathroom on the property as well for when nature calls. Currently located approximately 1,900 meters above sea level in the Italian Alps, the tiny cabin was designed to be easily transportable and assembled in nearly any location. The prefabricated design allows the structure to be assembled in just two hours. Additionally, the cabin is elevated off the ground on a platform in order to leave minimal impact on the natural environment. The Immerso cabin is available for rent on Airbnb starting at about $130 a night. + Airbnb Images via Immerso Glamping

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Transparent, prefab tiny cabin offers the best views of the Italian Alps

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