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sustainable architecture
design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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Marlboro Music: Five Cedar-Clad Cottages, designed by HGA

Marlboro Music: Five Cedar-Clad Cottages, designed by HGA | sustainable architecture |
These cedar-clad dwellings for music residents in Marlboro, Vt., take an iconic house form and update it with minimal detailing and a palette of local materials.

The cottages play on the 400-year-old Cape Cod typology, which features low sidewalls (a mere 7 feet tall) and steeply raked roofs. “We decided to use those classic proportions,” Soranno says, “but put a contemporary spin on the interiors and detailing.”

A simple palette of local materials—stained cedar cladding, white pine interior walls and ceilings, and slate floors—is rendered in natural finishes and with an almost compulsive lack of detail. Window and door casings—in fact, all trim—are verboten. And while the presences of chimneys is a nod to the vernacular, they don’t connect to fireplaces—instead, they conceal plumbing vents and boiler stacks.

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Zaha Hadid adds concrete and cantilevers to Issam Fares Institute

Zaha Hadid adds concrete and cantilevers to Issam Fares Institute | sustainable architecture |
Zaha Hadid has completed a building for the American University of Beirut, which cantilevers out over a public courtyard and a series of elevated pathways.

The IFI's design builds upon the institute's mission as a catalyst and connector between AUB, researchers and the global community. Routes, views and links within the campus converge to define the IFI as a three-dimensional intersection; a space for university's students, fellows and visitors to meet, connect and engage with each other and the wider world.

The building takes full advantage of the region's tradition and expertise of working with in-situ concrete. Passive design measures, high efficiency active systems and recycled water technologies minimize the building's impact on the local and wider environment.

More at the link...

Norm Miller's curator insight, August 1, 2014 11:50 AM

Zaha Hadid knows how to work with simple materials like concrete and design interesting, low maintenance space.

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Building Dormitories With Local, Recycled Timber and Renewable Bamboo in Thailand

Building Dormitories With Local, Recycled Timber and Renewable Bamboo in Thailand | sustainable architecture |

In the Thai town of Mae Sot, the CDC School (Children Development Center) hosts over 500 students and offers accommodation and education for refugees from the conflict in neighboring Myanmar.

The lack of space and the need for immediate accommodation has forced the School to present a new model of temporary low-cost dormitories that is easy to assemble and can be built by using as many recycled materials as possible.

Mae Tao Clinic commissioned Thailand-based architecture firm a.gor.a architects to design temporary dormitories and classroom buildings.

The first of four dormitories was built within four weeks, and meets the modus vivendi by fitting into the local environment in which it is located. The interior layout ensures an open and airy space that offers semi-privacy and includes storage space for the students. The building materials used are locally available and well known to their users, thus allowing for easy maintenance and resulting in low maintenance costs.

More details and images at the article link...

imran bharti's curator insight, August 24, 2013 2:02 AM


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Self-Sufficient Farmhouse by Studio Moffitt

Self-Sufficient Farmhouse by Studio Moffitt | sustainable architecture |

This self-sufficient farmhouse residence in Ontario, Canada by Studio Moffitt is entirely off-grid and generates all its own electricity using solar panels on the roof, as well as from passive strategies. Windows are triple-glazed to prevent heat from escaping, while the concrete floor acts as a thermal mass.

The architectural language of the exterior, a monolithic galvanised steel shed, is informed by the local agricultural vernacular to ensure visual coherence within the landscape and to facilitate construction with locally available and sourced materials. Construction was completed largely by local farmers familiar with agricultural building practices.The rich dialogue with local craftsman ensured that the house is rooted in the building practices and conventions of context while also offering the community exposure to innovative resource and energy-conserving construction practices...

ParadigmGallery's comment, February 23, 2013 8:08 AM
Love this piece...the house is perfectly lovely and sits comfortably in the setting....the story warms my heart...and the fields and farmland exports me to Iowa.....
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Back to Earth | Vernacular Architecture

Back to Earth | Vernacular Architecture | sustainable architecture |
In Ma'anqiao, the 2008 earthquake destroyed 263 out of 272 houses.

Today, with the help of a group of university researchers, this remote Sichuan village has become a workshop of design experimentation, in which the region's inhabitants and artisans are re-learning the ancient art of rammed-earth constructions.

To do so, it was essential to give villagers a demonstration of how to rebuild with all the readily available resources. As a prototype, a new rammed-earth courtyard dwelling was constructed for an elderly couple in one month by the project team together with villagers mobilised from each family. Providing families with a participative training course on the basic techniques developed in previous studies, this hands-on approach allowed them to be convinced by the new construction and further understand how to rebuild their houses by themselves...

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MOPTT Building in La Serena

MOPTT Building in La Serena | sustainable architecture |

The new regional headquarters of the Ministry of Public Works in La Serena city arises as a proposal that places institutional architecture at the service of the city and the region, creating public spaces that help to give urban shape to one of the city edges, connecting it to its geographical environment.

The new MOP building shares the spirit of the “Plan Serena”, which gave form to a new city image constructing its specific urban design in relation to its geography of terraces through parks and significant buildings, both strategically located...

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A Platform for Living - Homes - Dwell

A Platform for Living - Homes - Dwell | sustainable architecture |
Setsumasa and Mami Kobayashi’s weekend retreat, two and a half hours northwest of Tokyo, is “an arresting concept,” photographer Dean Kaufman says, who documented the singular refuge in the Chichibu mountain range.
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Backyard solutions to urban planning issues

Backyard solutions to urban planning issues | sustainable architecture |
Hundreds of visitors flocked to a new, 420-square-foot cottage in West Berkeley to examine the tiny, sustainably designed "accessory home" as a possible wave of the future.
Jay C. Estes's curator insight, May 21, 2013 9:43 AM

Hmmm, I seem to remember a similar concept known as Katrina Cottages, or Mississippi Cottages being discussed well before this.  Mississippi leading the way?

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Borrowing From The Rich Personality of Its Surroundings: Pobble House in England

Borrowing From The Rich Personality of Its Surroundings: Pobble House in England | sustainable architecture |

Pobble House is an original looking timber frame residence paying tribute to the qualities and architectural history of its special location in Ashford, Kent, England: “Owing to the site’s significance, local planning policy dictates that any new building must replace an existing one and is to be of similar scale and proportion to that of the original. To this end a material palette was chosen that would enhance with age. Whilst being designed to a tight budget, the building has a very high quality and robust nature to withstand the harsh climate”, explained the team at Guy Hollaway Architects.

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Bernardo Bader's Haus Fontanella is a chalet built from local wood

Bernardo Bader's Haus Fontanella is a chalet built from local wood | sustainable architecture |
Bernardo Bader Architects sourced pine and spruce from the surrounding slopes to build this picturesque chalet in a village of western Austria.

The house is situated on a inclined south-terrace-plane to not only benefit from the great view, but also to optimise the property's borders, with the building placed on the upper part of the property and the volume kept as compact as possible.

The whole facade of the building is a made of differently size sliced spruce boards, exactly how they are delivered from the sawmill. The intentional rough planking together with the randomness of smaller and bigger windows generate an exciting facade game and an intimate atmosphere inside with selected framed views to the exterior.

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Sustainability, Simplicity and Natural Materials at New York's Won Dharma Center

Sustainability, Simplicity and Natural Materials at New York's Won Dharma Center | sustainable architecture |

A retreat designed by Hanrahan Meyers Architects reinforces the Buddhist mantras of simplicity and nature in upstate New York at this beautiful, simple and green meditation center.

Located in the Hudson River Valley, New York, the 22,000 sf project was under construction when Chung Ohun Lee, of the organization's leaders, attended the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. She was so inspired by Obama's speech—in which he vowed to cut emissions by 8% over 40 years—that she asked the architects to switch from conventional building systems already ordered to such energy savers as geothermal heating and solar hot water.

While many of the building systems were changed after Lee's trip, the architecture itself needed few adjustments- wood framing (dimensional lumber and glulam beams) was used rather than steel, and interiors used locally harvested oak for flooring with furniture made of FSC-certified, formaldehyde-free apple plywood. LEED certification would have added $50,000 to the cost, so the client instead opted to spend the funds on green features. It helps, Hanrahan says, that "reducing their carbon footprint is part of their philosophy."

But the real lesson is that even the most advanced systems require the client's participation to achieve significant energy savings...

Lauren Moss's insight:

A beautiful structure that aptly reflects the philosophy of its users serves as an architectural manifestation of key Buddhist principles and values. The minimalist design is an inspiring example of a fundamental commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship- the building employs modern technology and innovative green systems, in conjunction with passive design strategies and the use of locally-sourced materials...

ParadigmGallery's curator insight, April 5, 2013 4:22 PM

inspiring design, philosophy and implementation...enviable commitment to going greener and owning the responsibility we all have to adapt our approach to new builds....


Jasbin's comment, April 22, 2013 2:31 AM
A beautiful photography
Snow Lion Crystals's comment, September 7, 2013 4:14 AM
Lovely article, simply inspiring.
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A Floating School That Won’t Flood

A Floating School That Won’t Flood | sustainable architecture |

Makoko is a water-logged settlement in Lagos, home to about 250,000 people living mostly in makeshift structures on stilts.

Instead of stilts,  Kunlé Adeyemi, a Nigerian-born architect who now lives in Holland, sees floating structures with better access to power and fresh water and more sustainable means of waste disposal.

His first project--what he calls a "seed to cultivate a new type of urbanism on water in African cities"--is a floating school. The three-story structure is 108 square feet at its base, and 33 feet high. It sits on a flotation deck made of 256 used plastic drums. And the body is all wood, which is sourced locally. The building is designed for about 100 students (aged 4 to 12), and has its own power system based around solar panels on the roof...

Ankita Sharma's curator insight, February 12, 2013 6:56 AM

really great work

Natalie Curtis's curator insight, March 7, 2013 10:40 AM

This is an amazingly good use of architecture and it's alternate purposes and uses. It's a creative and innovative way of redesigning the structure and living means of a community that struggles with flooding and is wholly a water-based living society. The main means of transportation is canoe and so where else should their homes and schools be but on the water? These drum-bottomed, 33 feet high structures give this community a school that is practically flood-proof and can sustain itself with solar panels, as well.

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The Windcatcher House | DesignBuildBLUFF/University of Colorado, Denver

The Windcatcher House | DesignBuildBLUFF/University of Colorado, Denver | sustainable architecture |
Students build a modest home for a Navajo family in the Utah desert.

A “windcatcher” is a centuries-old Persian technology featuring a tower that takes advantage of natural ventilation by capturing and cooling air. Hank Louis, of DesignBuildBLUFF, the University of Utah/University of Colorado, Denver design-build studio, recognized the merits of this simple solution for a recently completed Navajo family home. The house features a tower made of compressed earth bricks with four openings around the top. As the wind blows through the slits, wet blankets (moistened by a drip line) chill the air that then circulates around the home...

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Living Infrastructure

Living Infrastructure | sustainable architecture |

Growing your own house may seem like a new idea, but what about growing pieces of functional infrastructure? That’s exactly what the locals of Nongriat in Meghalaya, India have been doing for the past 500 years. In that time, they’ve grown bridges over one hundred feet in length and strong enough to support the weight of more than 50 people. There are even “double decker” bridges...

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The Korora House «

The Korora House « | sustainable architecture |

On a remote ridge stretching between the Hauraki Gulf in Northern New Zealand and the breathtaking landscape of Waiheke Island sits the Korora House, Daniel Marshall Architect’s latest project. The Auckland based firm’s approach to building the Korora House was to “work within the contour of the ridge, as an attempt to minimize the impact on the landscape.” The team was successful, as each element of the house fits snugly within the curves of the rolling hills.

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