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design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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7 Creative Upcycled Shipping Container Homes

7 Creative Upcycled Shipping Container Homes | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

A gallery of homes that repurpose or reuse shipping containers in a broad range of innovative ways, on various scales and styles...

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Zoya Ayaz's curator insight, September 9, 2014 8:18 AM

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Industry + Ingenuity: 7 Silo Transformations that Fill Empty Voids with New Life

Industry + Ingenuity: 7 Silo Transformations that Fill Empty Voids with New Life | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
How can one transform a collection of concrete tubes into a site for experiencing contemporary culture?

That was the question posed by British architect and artist Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, whose imaginative designs can be found everywhere from Manchester to Shanghai. Heatherwick is used to creating striking sculptures on a grand scale, but his latest proposal is larger than any before—he plans to carve an art museum from the depths of an old silo in South Africa’s capital city, Cape Town. The building is a monumental sculpture in itself, and Heatherwick’s challenge was twofold: protect and celebrate the heritage of the city’s industrial past while simultaneously creating something wholly new within the inherited structure.

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Lola Ripollés's curator insight, March 22, 2014 8:47 PM

Dar nueva vida a los silos; soluciones de todo tipo para todo tipo de usos. Algunos de los proyectos, muy interesantes.

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Stunning Modern Building Breathes New Life Into Bergen's Historic Fish Market

Stunning Modern Building Breathes New Life Into Bergen's Historic Fish Market | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
A local fish market in Bergen has been transformed by Edel Biesel Arkitekter into a beautiful modern space that harks back to the city's heritage.

Completed in 2012, the renovation carefully balances the site's historic heritage with its contemporary use. The project is titled “History Continued," and it honors these principles by telling the story of the site while creating a symbol of modern architecture in the center of the city.

An angular, daylight-filled “floating” volume and glass wall on the ground floor provides a view out through the market hall. The building’s transparent facade provides shelter from wind and rain, but on beautiful sunny days the space can be opened up to connect market activities outside to those occurring inside.

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An Adaptable Shipping Container That Transforms For Different Uses Seamlessly

An Adaptable Shipping Container That Transforms For Different Uses Seamlessly | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Creatives from China’s Jikerzhicheng Product Design has transformed a shipping container to be a beautiful, modular, flexible space. 

The designers used as little material as possible and incorporated circular cutouts at the tops and sides in order to allow natural light to enter, and cutouts at the bottom allow for movement in and out of the container. 

The ability and flow of the space was to be seamlessly integrated to nature. The mobile container also has the potential for constant evolution and multiple uses, such as transforming from a stage set to sleeping quarters and even a tea house, if you desire.

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Ellis Residence: A Stunning LEED Platinum Home on Bainbridge Island

Ellis Residence: A Stunning LEED Platinum Home on Bainbridge Island | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Ellis Residence in Bainbridge Island, Washington designed by Coates Design is a LEED Platinum home that shines as an example of modern design made green.


Situated on Yeomalt Bluff overlooking Puget Sound and the Seattle skyline, the Ellis Residence is a renovation that resulted in the reuse of more than 80% of the existing materials. The new home cuts energy consumption by 70% with the innovative use of geothermal heating, photovoltaic energy systems, and smart construction techniques. Other key sustainable features include rainwater collection, FSC and recycled wood products, triple-glazed windows and a green roof...

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House DS: a minimalist extension to a Belgian farmhouse...

House DS: a minimalist extension to a Belgian farmhouse... | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

House DS is a minimalist extension to a farmhouse residence in Belgium and a beautiful example of residential restoration, preservation and reuse...

A typical Belgian farmhouse, known as a ‘fernette’ inspired this addition to House DS in Destelbergen, Belgium. Architects Graux & Baeyens addressed the client’s request of ensuring the addition would provide ‘spacious, bright and contemporary living’ and molded the idea of 4 rectilinear volumes as extensions of the existing building, creating a stark contrast between old and new, past and present. A fifth volume in the form of a pool house also serves as a shed for additional storage.

The proportions of the new volumes, the unobtrusive appearance of its minimalist interiors and the well-designed layout of the spaces that connect the two structures present an elegant way of two styles coexisting.

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Picturesque Barn Extension in France by PPA Architects

Picturesque Barn Extension in France by PPA Architects | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

The architecture team of PPA worked on the reconstruction of an old barn in the highlands of Hautes-Pyrénées, France. The result is a welcoming rustic retreat, with appreciation for the local tradition:

“Our purpose was to add an extension to the existing barn conversion, creating new living spaces (a guest room and multi-purpose room), along with a utility area and garage. The specificity of the extension project is rooted both in the character of its natural setting and that of the existing building, and creates a double bind in terms of both typology and design. The extension was positioned in the southern portion of the site, on equal footings with the barn, and slips effortlessly into the naturally excavated lay of the land“.

With a highly original facade defined by glass and logs, the addition originally combines raw materials like stone and wood, with a minimalist, modern design approach.

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Are Container Houses the future? | Sustainable Cities Collective

Are Container Houses the future? | Sustainable Cities Collective | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

French architect Patrick Partouche recently designed and developed a single-family unit made up of five shipping containers. In Africa we’ve seen containers being used as community gathering places, schools and places of business. Having been largely confined to the African continent these efforts always carried a make-shift and “low-class” notion. However, this family unit looks fantastically industrial-chique. With a big push to sustainable building perhaps one of the greatest ways is to simple re-use and recycle...

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Artist Covers 10-Storey Building With 1,000 Recycled Doors

Artist Covers 10-Storey Building With 1,000 Recycled Doors | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
One salvaged door wasn't enough for this installation artist, who transformed this multi-storey structure into an eccentric landmark with 1,000 doors.

Using salvaged building materials like doors in your next building project is a good idea, but South Korean installation artist Choi Jeong-Hwa takes it to a whole new level. Using 1,000 recycled doors, Choi Jeong-Hwa transformed an otherwise nondescript, 10-storey facade into a eye-dazzling delight of colours and textures.

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Plastic Bottle House, Developmental Association for Renewable Energies

Plastic Bottle House, Developmental Association for Renewable Energies | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

One person's trash is another person’s building material...or so it would seem. In the village of Sabon Yelwa the Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) has instigated an ingenious scheme to transform the region’s litter problem into a positive future for the community through the construction of new residences.

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Fabián Salazar Bazúa's curator insight, March 11, 2013 7:09 PM

Otro ejemplo de lo que la creatividad e imaginación puede hacer con las construcciones.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, March 17, 2014 5:53 PM

Creativity at its finest! In Sabon Yelwa new residences are constructed from plastic bottles. It is a great way of using something that does harm for the planet and turning it into something beneficial. DARE uses litter as a way to provide decent shelter and eliminate trash filling the streets. Plus it serves as an interesting focal piece!

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, November 22, 2014 3:28 PM

Nigeria may have a growing economy, but unfortunately, it suffers from a lack of housing for its growing population. Instead of building houses from non-renewable materials, the Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), has come up with an ingenious way to battle homelessness and the growing waste problem. Houses are being built out of plastic drink bottles filled with sand that are mortared together to build sturdy, insulated walls. While we do not often correlate developing countries with sustainability, this is truly something that could be utilized throughout the world in order to address homelessness and recycling issues around the world. 

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Sun-Flooded Sustainable Home in the Netherlands

Sun-Flooded Sustainable Home in the Netherlands | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

The architects kept most of the old building intact and constructed a low maintenance residence: “Key points of departure were maximum reuse of built elements and materials already on site and the use of sturdy and proven techniques to achieve the lowest possible energy consumption.” Both the renovated and the new walls were insulated and the old wood window frames have been replaced with new aluminum – framed insulated glass walls.

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Green Catalyst - Energy Efficiency, Technology

Green Catalyst - Energy Efficiency, Technology | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
A 2003 AIA COTE Top Ten project, the Chicago Center for Green Technology may have helped kick-start the city's green-building boom.
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Shipping Containers Turned Into Shopping Mall in London's BoxPark

Shipping Containers Turned Into Shopping Mall in London's BoxPark | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
BoxPark is 'the world's first pop-up shopping mall', being built at the Shoreditch High Street station in London.
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Courtyards Connected by Refurbished Shipping Containers: An Innovative Melbourne Workplace

Courtyards Connected by Refurbished Shipping Containers: An Innovative Melbourne Workplace | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Australian practice Room 11 has completed the Melbourne headquarters of Royal Wolf – a specialist in the hire, sale and modification of new and refurbished shipping containers. 

Appropriately, the workplace is built entirely from the steel units, utilizing the fabrication and construction methods employed by the organization.

20ft and 40ft containers are positioned to create four courtyards, forming a complete rectangle. The ends of each unit are replaced with full height glazing, while ceilings are also left exposed, covered with rigid insulation and a membrane roof. Two are set vertically, placed on end to create a narrow void with a skylight naturally illuminating the building’s interior.

The scheme repurposes the enclosed volumes as a series of connected light-filled rooms interspersed with areas of plantation. Offices and reception areas articulated around a central courtyard, while the meeting room, kitchen and principal offices are linked to further external enclosures.

More images at the link.

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Second Life: Using Recycled Materials For Architecture

Second Life: Using Recycled Materials For Architecture | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
Using salvaged stuff not only has a positive environmental impact by reducing waste, it also offers architects materials typically unavailable.

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, “If all the lumber used to build the 1.2 million new homes constructed in the U.S. each year were laid end to end, it would extend 2 million miles—a sobering statistic.

Dutifully sorting waste, separating the metal and plastic from the paper for different recycling streams is part of modern life. Some areas even have food waste collection for community compost.

Architects and designers are taking notice of the opportunities offered by recycling and reuse. Using salvaged materials not only has a positive environmental impact by reducing waste, it also offers architects materials typically unavailable, such as old growth lumber.

Visit the link for some prescient products and projects using recycled materials for architectural purposes.

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Amber Harsnett's curator insight, September 23, 2013 10:09 AM

I love this look of this building! It looks so organic and natural

Catherine Devin's curator insight, September 27, 2013 5:41 AM

La démarche requiert une structuration des filières de tri, collecte et recyclage sur les matériaux clefs, à une échelle industrielle et régionale si l'on veut généraliser l'emploi des matériaux recyclés et avoir un impact positif significatif sur plusieurs critères de développement durable qu'on pourrait associer au projet.

Daniel LaLiberte's curator insight, September 28, 2013 4:07 PM

We need to find uses for 100% of our "waste" and resources that end up in architectural structures will tend to stick around longer before being recycled yet again.

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A Heat Exchanger is Transformed into a Contemporary Cultural + Sports Center

A Heat Exchanger is Transformed into a Contemporary Cultural + Sports Center | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

The transformation of this heat exchanger into a culture and sports center by slovakian firm atrium studio was part of a project for the EHMK 2013.

The angular exterior form extends the building out into the public space, with a dramatic climbing wall feature. The exchanger center has five different interconnected floors that have all been turned into gallery spaces - each fulfilling a different function. a secluded rooftop consists of four trees and a large lounge area.

The structure stands out within its surrounding context of industrial-type buildings, with the existing heat exchanger wrapped with a bold geometric facade. The folded triangular shapes define the building's exterior- cut out pieces of the twisted volume expose slanted view shafts of the interior windows, helping to express the new transformation.

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richardsphotography's comment, August 9, 2013 6:45 PM
That is a wild looking building. Technology and builders have come a long way in the way of designing.
ParadigmGallery's comment, August 9, 2013 10:10 PM
wonderful...interesting inside and out...
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Adaptive Reuse + Environmental Architecture at Claremont University's New Campus

Adaptive Reuse + Environmental Architecture at Claremont University's New Campus | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This new Administrative Campus Center for the Claremont University Consortium (CUC) consolidates the majority of CUC departments and services into a single location through the adaptive re-use of an under-utilized 42,000 square feet maintenance building.


The new Center allows CUC to create a unique and vibrant work environment with a well-defined public character in an environmentally sensitive manner, and provides a collective gathering place for both the Colleges and the broader community.

The project deploys a series of intertwined, materially rich, tactical architectural elements that reprogram the existing facility and redefines its public presence. These include a continuous 740 foot long cedar screen, a custom ceiling cloud, a digital garden, and a field of 168 solar chimneys that providing natural light through the space...

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Cargotecture – the Rise of Recycling Shipping Containers

Cargotecture – the Rise of Recycling Shipping Containers | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

One man’s trash is said to be another man’s treasure, and now old cargo shipping containers are rapidly becoming sought-after treasure in the architecture industry.


The term cargotecture, coined in 2005 by HyBrid Architecture, is used to describe any building partially or entirely built from recycled ISO shipping containers. It may seem strange that such a simple, aesthetically-unappealing box could be so loved by modern architects, but the increased use of reclaimed materials in architecture is starting to show no bounds.

In a world dominated by mass production, architects are being forced to find alternative ways of designing buildings that will make the smallest impact on the earth. Extending the life of discarded materials and saving salvageable items from landfill is a completely viable approach.

Shipping containers are resistant to fire, termites, hurricanes and earthquakes, proving themselves to be extremely resilient.


Somewhat like stacking blocks of Lego, steel or aluminum shipping containers are a perfectly strong building block...

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Pierre R Chantelois's comment, January 12, 2013 9:56 PM
Quelle excellente idée. Si les gouvernements pouvaient en réquisitionner quelques milliers, ils pourraient en faire don à Haïti pour accéler la mise à niveau de la qualité de vie de la population. Un 12 décembre, il y a trois ans...
oliviersc's comment, January 13, 2013 10:35 AM
Hélas, les bonnes idées ne sont pas rentables...
Natalie Curtis's curator insight, March 8, 2013 9:27 AM

I love that I've finally found the neologism for this type of architecture finally! Cargotecture is an upcoming trend in the architect's world and this article is actually one of the most brief and yet informative blogs I may have found in my short search, so far of these shipping container homes and buildings. The containers prove to be a very useful and easily moveable. They are in great abundance, which is fantastic since they are so often used for their resilience to fire, termites, hurricanes and earthquakes. So there's my answer finally to why these containers are becoming so popular amongst architects.

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London's Passion For Shipping Container Architecture Continues...

London's Passion For Shipping Container Architecture Continues... | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Europe’s passion for shipping container architecture is well-noted. All across the continent, developments are springing up that showcase the best of this modern, versatile and sustainable building practice.

The UK alone has been host to a barrage of shipping container developments, perhaps most notably in the shipping container pop-up shopping district. ,Located on London’s Shoreditch High Street, the ‘Boxpark’ has been heralded as the first of its kind. This environmentally friendly shopping zone was constructed from 60 standard-sized recycled shipping containers stacked in rows of five, with each standing two storeys high.
Following the success of the Boxpark comes the equally temporary Wahaca Southbank Experiment, located on the outdoor terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre in London...

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Plaza Diane in Wyoming is a LEED Gold Art Center Converted from a Former Gas Station

Plaza Diane in Wyoming is a LEED Gold Art Center Converted from a Former Gas Station | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Tucked in the core of the small town of Powell in North Central Wyoming is Plaza Diane a LEED Gold Community Arts Center, a reclaimed 50's service station.

The project is conceived as a home for visual arts and performance to be exhibited in the culturally rich community, but the community went much further by incorporating a host of design elements to significantly reduce the building's impact. We recently took a tour of the project and learned how a small group's shared vision manifested in this fantastic gathering place...

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UK Water Pumping Station Converted Into Sophisticated Modern Home

UK Water Pumping Station Converted Into Sophisticated Modern Home | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Camouflaged in the north of England, UK, this exceptional two-story building is the result of a notable architecture conversion. The Pump House is the contemporary and sophisticated version of a former water pumping station in Ilkley and shelters three bedrooms, two bathrooms and two receptions. Its exterior stays true to the origins of the building and displays an intriguing brick finish. Once inside, the overall perspective is bent, as a potential visitor is likely to be surprised by the highly modern interiors. A generously sized living and dining space acts as the focal point of the entire house. The attention to detail is obvious in every corner of the project, from the lighting elements in the living area to the specially commissioned bathroom with imported marble from Italy. State-of-the art technology is also a defying factor for this home, equipped with infrared high security cameras and intercom system with electric gates...

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XMS Media Gallery by Moxie Design

XMS Media Gallery by Moxie Design | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

The building is an old four-story apartment in the city center, facing the fate of being torn down and rebuilt. Amidst the anticipation of city renewal, the façade of a series of adjoining “shop houses” conveys the desolation of fading glory. A group of designers pursuing innovation, created a fantastic view, filled with a sharp contrast. Soft and permeable nets bend and flex along the currents of wind and impacts of rain and with versatility actually present varied “postures” in a humble fashion. The irregular arrangement of the fence nets partition the monotone windows that mark the horizontal dimension, and the flickering lights of our hard-working partners twinkle in the night, echoing the challenges of metropolitan life. The design team works like dedicated farmers in the greenhouse nurturing the organic forces of life.

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La Concha House by MOOARC

La Concha House by MOOARC | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

The house was developed as a fluid, three-dimensional plan, inspired by ‘The Nolli plan of Rome’ 1748.

The internal volume of the 15th Century barn forms the heart of the home. On the lower level, kitchen and dining is position below a more formal living space up on a mezzanine level.

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Recycling pays off in award-winning Australian design

Recycling pays off in award-winning Australian design | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

An old tip site turned recycling depot in the Melbourne outer suburb of Dandenong has proven a useful resource for architects and designers of some of 2011’s most acclaimed projects.

The Waste Converters Recycling Depot in Dandenong lists its regular clients as including eco-entrepreneur Joost Bakker, architect Jerry Wolveridge, restaurant Vue de Monde's Shannon Bennett, furniture designer Mark Tuckey and artist David Bromley.

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Pierce County Environmental Services Division Exemplifies Mission

Pierce County Environmental Services Division Exemplifies Mission | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This building sits on a 900+ acre site, much of which has been extensively mined for gravel for over 100 years, resulting in a barren landscape. Historically the sight is known as the Steilacoom Gravel Pit. As the first major building constructed under “Reclaiming Our Resources”, the county's 50-year master plan for the site, sets the tone for future development.

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