sustainable architecture
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sustainable architecture
design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
Curated by Lauren Moss
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A Low-Cost, High-Efficiency Ecological Home on the Scottish Isle of Skye

A Low-Cost, High-Efficiency Ecological Home on the Scottish Isle of Skye | sustainable architecture |

Built on the Isle of Skye, this remote eco home in Fiscovaig is both low cost and ultra-efficient. It has been affectionately named the Hen House by the owners and has some of the best views over the Scottish island.

This was intended to be a highly sustainable home, but instead of spending excessive amounts of a tight budget on elaborate technologies such as ground-source heat pumps or wind turbines, the spaces are ultra-insulated to achieve fuel efficiency, a cost effective approach sometimes referred to as eco minimalism...

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Historic modern house renovated to Passivhaus standard

Historic modern house renovated to Passivhaus standard | sustainable architecture |

A mantra here is that "the greenest building is the one already standing." There have been far too many posts about the loss of yet another Paul Rudolph houseor the razing of yet another brutalist classic. Often it is claimed that modern buildings are energy sinkholes and are impossible to modernize.

Then there is the Williams-Levant house, built by architect and former Frank Lloyd Wright employee Barry Byrne in 1934 for the pianist/ comedian Oscar Levant in Westport, Connecticut. It not only has been saved and modernized, but it actually has been renovated to Passivhaus standards, no easy feat, by Doug Mcdonald of, with Ken Levenson and Gregory Duncan as Passive House consultant...

The original Passivhaus standard was designed for new construction, with siting and sun angles being an important consideration. You can't do much about that in a renovation, so a special standard, EnerPHit, was developed by the German Passivhaus Institute. It calls for a reduction in thermal bridges, improved air tightness, high quality windows and a LOT of insulation, resulting in energy savings of between 75 and 90%...

Read the complete article for more on the strategies employed in the modernization of this historic structure.

John Lasschuit ®™'s comment, March 8, 2013 2:22 PM
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E8 building

E8 building | sustainable architecture |
The lot must define the most significant western visual boundary. Also, it is the natural background of the boulevard’s urban axis, the green space that unifies the whole of the Álava Technology Park, since its beginning.

The buildings are linked in a to their natural surroundings., and their geometry frames the views towards the hillside. In the North building this opening is achieved through an open entrance atrium, which enhances the presence of the hillside forest, with the use of a frontal overhang that liberates the main façade. In the South building, the landscape views are achieved through the overhangs on its sides.
The double façade provides the buildings with an air mattress that increases the thermal insulation by reducing losses in winter and producing air circulation in the summer. Thus the air conditioning requirements are minimized and save great amounts of energy...

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The Modern Seaweed House Brings Old and New Together

The Modern Seaweed House Brings Old and New Together | sustainable architecture |

This beautiful house located on Danish island Læsø is 100 square meters and is suitable for two families. Architecture studio Vandkunsten decided to bring back to life old method of using seaweed in housing, characteristic for the local architecture of island. The effective insulation – seaweed! – makes it possible to live in the house year-round.

In contrast to the historic houses, the Modern Seaweed House is more contemporary in its expression. The visible seaweed has been stuffed into bolsters made of net knitted in strong wool. The bolsters are attached to the roof in overlapping runs and, in smaller scale, mounted on the façades using the same method.

Ursula O'Reilly Traynor's curator insight, August 17, 2013 3:20 AM

I have bathed in seaweed and would never have guessed it could be used in house building!! Love this house! Would love to build and live in one in the West of Ireland!

Trista Etherton's curator insight, August 17, 2013 4:30 PM

Truly amazing

Jean B. Wlodarczyk's comment, August 19, 2013 1:09 PM
La maison caméleon qui se fond dans la nature?
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G house: Passive Design in Normandy, France

G house: Passive Design in Normandy, France | sustainable architecture |

The intermittent use of this structure near the Seine estuary, built as a holiday home, strongly influenced the environmental choices of the project. The challenge was to give priority to passive devices and architecture, offering a gain in terms of energy performance, but also for the comfort of the occupants.

The exposure has been a main priority : East-West orientation, oversized opening to the South, natural shades and solar control strategy, North side blind.

Great attention has been given to thermal insulation. Choosing wood slab, and a wood panelling structure insulated from the outside, has allowed us to obtain good levels of insulation and air tightness. Furthermore, the low-thermal-mass building, offered by the wooden structure is interesting in the context of a weekend home, that needs to heat up quickly, for short periods. A wood stove thus is sufficient to heat the home.Finally, the building is based on the dry process framework, with the benefits of prefabrication : quality building, swift assembly, and site protection...

Michael John Carter's curator insight, March 7, 2013 12:41 AM

Starting point is about the design!!