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design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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Community + Contemporary Architecture: Cree Cultural Institute in Canada

Community + Contemporary Architecture: Cree Cultural Institute in Canada | sustainable architecture |

Rubin&Rotman Architects completed Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute in the Canadian village of Oujé-Bougoumou, paying tribute to local architecture.

The Institute includes an exhibition hall, making it both a museum and meeting place, with community activities such as dance and music shows taking place, along with more intimate gatherings featuring storytellers and elders. On the lower floor are the offices of associations involved in preserving the Cree language, hunting methods and arts and handicrafts, as well as in promoting tourism. Wood is used extensively, evoking the fundamental importance of the forest to the Cree people. Special attention was paid to transposing symbolic elements reflecting traditional Cree habitat to this contemporary building. The open plan and transparency of the ground floor make the Institute the heart of the community.

ParadigmGallery's curator insight, July 27, 2014 3:45 PM

We admire the way the Cree culture and aesthetic is blended into the modern structure. It pays homage to their origins but offers the community a beautiful facility.

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Penda designs flexible bamboo hotel to connect guests with nature

Penda designs flexible bamboo hotel to connect guests with nature | sustainable architecture |

Design collective Penda has developed a concept for a flexible, portable hotel made from rods of bamboo, designed to bring guests closer to nature.

One With the Birds was developed by Penda – based in Vienna and Beijing – for the AIM Legend of the Tent competition in China, which challenged architects to develop low-impact tent-themed hotels offering a closer connection with the outdoors.

Penda came up with a concept for a flexible bamboo structure that can be easily expanded horizontally and vertically. Find more details at the article.

A. Perry Homes's curator insight, July 15, 2014 2:38 PM

FInally, our Swiss Family Robinson dream has come true, and we can vacation in the trees! 

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Villa F in Rhodes, Greece by Hornung and Jacobi Architecture

Villa F in Rhodes, Greece by Hornung and Jacobi Architecture | sustainable architecture |

Set above and within a natural stone wall which runs along this length of the Greek Rhodes coastline, Villa F is a design by Hornung and Jacobi Architecture for a holiday retreat. There’s a strong emphasis on comfort and minimalism throughout the dwelling with markedly few distinct rooms and a lack of internal walls.

Hornung and Jacobi Architecture opted for a lightweight plaster coated timber framework for its superstructure, as opposed to the typical tendency towards brute force and concrete cantilevers in modern architecture. A key aspect in the design brief was that it should be possible to cool and heat the building relatively quickly in order to reach a comfortable temperature as soon as possible. This was achieved through the use of lightweight components in its construction, and the incorporation of a mechanical roof vent to encourage convectional ventilation to occur throughout Villa F.

mickelin burnes-browne's curator insight, July 10, 2014 5:24 PM

This is totally cool and confirms to what I see in good design--minimalism, clean lines and emphasis on simplicity.


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Heatherwick Studio To Build “Learning Hub” in Singapore

Heatherwick Studio To Build “Learning Hub” in Singapore | sustainable architecture |

London based Heatherwick Studio have won a competition to design a Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological UniversitySingapore. The construction of the Hub, part of a £360 million scheme, will be the first redevelopment of its campus in twenty years. Having already won the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award for Sustainability from the Singaporean Government, the design seeks to redefine the aspiration of a university building. Within this new context the purpose of the university is to “foster togetherness and sociability” so that students can meet and learn in a space that encourages collaboration.

Norm Miller's curator insight, August 1, 2014 11:47 AM

Cool University Building

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Sonoma Spa Retreat, Sonoma, Calif.

Sonoma Spa Retreat, Sonoma, Calif. | sustainable architecture |

San Francisco–based Aidlin Darling Design crafted the program of this private spa retreat, located in the mountains of Sonoma, Calif., to serve as a place of respite, with the structure sited within a grove of oak, manzanita and madrone trees, close enough to the main house so as to be convenient, but far enough to ensure privacy on the 10-acre site.

The entry is situated behind two curving earthen walls that make the approach somewhat like moving through a concrete Richard Serra sculpture. Inside, the 1,802-square-foot structure includes a yoga and meditation studio, a steam room, changing rooms, and a refreshment bar. The spaces are organized on a wood deck surface that projects out over the landscape to the northeast and southeast to provide a private sundeck, which is shaded by a slatted canopy. Retractable glass walls open the interior spaces to the outdoors.

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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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Hong Kong Design Institute: Inspired by Utopian Floating Cities of the 60s

Hong Kong Design Institute: Inspired by Utopian Floating Cities of the 60s | sustainable architecture |
A new campus-on-stilts by Coldefy & Associés Architectes Urbanistes is inspired by the utopian floating cities of the 1960s.

The new campus of the Hong Kong Design Institute, by the French architecture firm Coldefy & Associés Architectes Urbanistes (CAAU), consists of a glazed platform that seems to float atop four stout legs. The building is edged on three sides by clusters of residential towers, against which this platform seems to hover at half height. On the remaining side, it looks across a park on to Clear Water Bay.

Raising the structure allowed for a dynamic continuation of the urban grid. The building stands on a podium, on which there are sports facilities and gardens; down at street level is an open plaza.

Coldefy's design is influenced by the "floating architecture" of the Hungarian-born French architect and urban planner, Yona Friedman. In the early 1960s Friedman proposed a "mobile city", a series of moveable megastructures suspended on a grid of stilts so that they left a minimal footprint...

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UNStudio completes central pavilion for Qingdao Horticultural Expo

UNStudio completes central pavilion for Qingdao Horticultural Expo | sustainable architecture |

UNStudio has created a cluster of pavilions modelled on the form of a Chinese flower, as the centrepiece for the 2014 horticultural expo in Qingdao, China.

The World Horticultural Expo 2014 takes place the Chinese city of Qingdao (from April to October 2014) and is expected to attract 15 million international visitors. The main theme of the expo is 'From the Earth, For the Earth' and aims to encourage the exchange of culture, technology and horticultural knowledge. In its design for the Theme Pavilion UNStudio combines expert knowledge of logistics, spatial organisation, specialised typology, future flexible usability, function programming, facade intelligence, user comfort and sustainability.

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How a Green-Roofed School is Educating the Next Generation of Innovators

How a Green-Roofed School is Educating the Next Generation of Innovators | sustainable architecture |

Marcel Sembat High School in Sotteville-lès-Rouen, France by Archi5 is an example of how architecture uses technology in surprising ways. 

Part of a larger rehabilitation of the high school, the new workshop building features a series of linear bars, each with a sloped green roof. Small patios between these volumes open to create skylights, with daylight entering through large windows created by the offset of the linear volumes, illuminating the large workshops.

The environmental technology in the building is mostly passive. Located on a site between a park and the city with a large, the north-facing facade opens up to city views, while the southern side has smaller windows shaded by overhangs. The difference between the two heights creates the shape of the building, while the green roof helps deflect wind and creates a low-maintenance green plaza.

Ma. Caridad Benitez's curator insight, May 27, 2014 10:57 AM

So so so Green! 

Judit Urquijo's curator insight, June 4, 2014 5:25 AM

Este sorprendente proyecto se localiza en las proximidades de la ciudad de Rouen, al NO de París. 

Obra del estudio de arquitectura francés Archi5 en colaboración con B. Huidobro, ha sido premiado en el certamen Architizer A+ Awards de 2014 en la categoría de "Tipología". 

Como se puede observar en la imagen adjunta, su principal características es el techo verde con el que se ha cubierto el edificio destinado a la enseñanza de mecánica. La integración con un cercano parque urbano es impresionante.

La comunidad bonaerense de arquitectura y diseño Arqa se hizo eco de este proyecto en 2011, incluyendo en su entrada imágenes de algunos de los planos. En los mismos se puede apreciar que uno de los principales escollos que se tuvieron que salvar fue la calle que divide los distintos edificios de los que se compone el liceo. No obstante, el problema se solucionó con la construcción de un edificio-puente.

Más imágenes en la web de Archi5

Euridice Hollis "Neal's Yard Independent Consultant"'s curator insight, June 13, 2014 4:00 PM

Love This!

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​The New Holy Grail: Inside the World's First Energy Positive Building

​The New Holy Grail: Inside the World's First Energy Positive Building | sustainable architecture |

The world is ready for an even fresher catchphrase than “net zero” buildings (NZB) to describe environmentally friendly buildings. Say hello to Norway's Powerhouse Kjørbo,the world’s first “energy positive building" (EPB) or “net positive" building.

Originally an ordinary office building from the 1980s, the adaptive reuse project represents a collaboration between Snøhetta, construction company Skanska, environmental organization Zero, aluminum supplier Hydro, and property management company Entra Eindom.

Catherine Devin's curator insight, May 17, 2014 1:10 AM

Premier bâtiment à énergie positive nette : il s'agit d'un bâtiment tertiaire réhabilité Powerhouse Kjørbo avec une combinaison de  technologie mais aussi de matériaux recyclés. Sur sa période de vie ( estimée à 60 ans),  Powerhouse Kjørbo va générer suffisamment de puissance énergétique pour couvrir les consommations nécessaires à la production des matériaux utilisés à la construction, à sa construction, son utilisation et la gestion de sa fin de vie.

Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, May 17, 2014 11:48 AM

From 'net zero' to 'net positive'.

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French Pavilion Expo Milano 2015 by XTU Architects

French Pavilion Expo Milano 2015 by XTU Architects | sustainable architecture |

The theme of the upcoming Expo Milano 2015 is "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" and will cover the issues of nutrition, limited resources and water access to the world's exponentially growing population. Paris-based XTU Architects conceived of a fertile roof structure which represents the productive soils found in France for their national pavilion. Known for its rich genetic heritage and high quality gastronomy, France's geology can lead to a food revolution as a future resource. 

The temporary construct for Milan's 6-month-long exposition will act as both a generator and market place for food. Along the edifice, plants, herbs and vegetables will grow, addressing the need for growing sites to support the Western cultures food demands as it spreads to a global stage. A consumption terrace will be found within the productive structure to enjoy the vegetables on site. Innovative hydroponics will supply the crops with water.

Catherine Devin's curator insight, May 14, 2014 2:22 AM

Capitaliser sur nos atouts et savoir-faire pour répondre aux enjeux futurs ?

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A Farming Kindergarten in Vietnam with a Spiraling Green Roof

A Farming Kindergarten in Vietnam with a Spiraling Green Roof | sustainable architecture |

In Dongnai, Vietnam, Vo Trong Nghia Architects has completed the construction of ‘farming kindergarten’, a large pre-school designed to accommodate up to 500 children. The project is envisioned as a model of sustainability set within the tropical climate, allowing the school’s young inhabitants to understand the importance of sustainable education and design.

A fully accessible green roof drawn in a triple-ring-shape creates three courtyards enclosed by the looping structure, providing safe and secure playgrounds for the kindergarten’s occupants. The different levels and gradients created by the building’s spiral form offer a series of distinct outdoor learning environments, where children are able to forge a close relationship with the natural world.

More images and information at the link.

Lola Ripollés's curator insight, May 5, 2014 6:14 PM

Patios ajardinados en una cubierta con distintos niveles para el recreo de los niños.

Ati Energia's curator insight, May 6, 2014 10:30 AM

Sustainability in Vietnam and educating children at the kinder garden level. 

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A Transit Plaza for Seattle's Light Rail Extension by Brooks + Scarpa

A Transit Plaza for Seattle's Light Rail Extension by Brooks + Scarpa | sustainable architecture |

Brooks + Scarpa design for a transit plaza for Seattle's light rail extension.

The station—an elevated central platform at South 200th Street—will serve as a transit hub, supporting park and ride, 1,050 parking spots, passenger drop-off areas, and connections between the light rail and bus services. Also planned is public art, landscaping, improved traffic circulation, a rainwater harvesting system, and rooftop solar panels.

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Building 347 Parking Garage: Bamboo + Innovation by Vittorio Lampugnani

Building 347 Parking Garage: Bamboo + Innovation by Vittorio Lampugnani | sustainable architecture |

Bamboo poles are not uncommon in construction, though they typically conjure thoughts of tropical huts and tiki torches rather than large-scale utilitarian structures. Architect Vittorio Lampugnani envisioned something quite different, however, seeing incredible promise in the sturdy, inexpensive material to bring warmth to an often overlooked, and more often unattractive, building type. When asked by Novartis to design a parking garage for its East Hanover, New Jersey, campus—his first—he came up with another first: he sheathed the six-story, 633,000-square-foot structure with precisely aligned rows of the woody stalks.

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Unique Solar Protection + A Dynamic Facade in Australia

Unique Solar Protection + A Dynamic Facade in Australia | sustainable architecture |

 In Bunbury, down the coast from Perth in Australia, the architects at Gresley Abas seized the mission of modernizing a homeless shelter as an opportunity to clad the original building in a colourful and dynamic facade – using metal screens. On completion of the building work, Yanget House now houses 37 apartments as well as stores and offices on the first and second floors which generate rental income that goes toward financing the project.
Colt perforated panels provide solar protection on the east side.

Artist Rick Verney specially designed a 3D relief of projecting, angular elements that seem both transparent and sculptural thanks to the characteristic perforation pattern. The “shadow metal” consists of powder-coated anodized aluminum – the perforation pattern on the screens is not just a key design element, but also ensures light transmission and the passage of energy. The customized design thus spawned both sun shading and an unusually textured dynamic façade that is as good as unmistakable.

UIWGroup's curator insight, July 11, 2014 8:47 AM

See we know how

Emanuele Naboni's curator insight, July 19, 2014 2:22 PM

3D Solar shading 

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Sustainable Design at ION Hotel, Iceland

Sustainable Design at ION Hotel, Iceland | sustainable architecture |

A place where luxury and design meet sustainability and adventure, all surrounded by lava fields and glacial lakes.

Iceland is often dubbed "the land of fire and ice"— about the size of Kentucky, Iceland boasts some of the most starkly juxtaposed landscapes in the world. From black sand beaches to glacier fields to jagged peaks, the lava fields of otherworldly green moss to the countless active geysers, Iceland's landscape is stunning—and that's only the beginning. There's no better place to experience these extremes than the ION Hotel.

Consistently awarded for both its design and sustainability, the ION's (slightly) remote location an hour east of Reykjavik makes it the ideal getaway to both relax and explore the country's extremes...

Mehdi BH's comment, July 9, 2014 7:34 AM
Amazing !!
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"House for trees" built in Ho Chi Minh City

"House for trees" built in Ho Chi Minh City | sustainable architecture |

This is the fourth amazing project by Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia that we have shown on TreeHugger. Each of them show a talent for working with climate, for breaking down the divide between inside and out. This is a single family house on a built on a piece of land in the middle of a block, accessible only by a lane.

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BIG's Spiraling Watch Museum Unveiled

BIG's Spiraling Watch Museum Unveiled | sustainable architecture |

'Danish architecture firm BIG have been chosen to expand the headquarters of iconic Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus, a small town in the heart of La Vallée de Joux. The 25,800-square-foot pavilion will feature a museum and is conceived as a "landmark to precision" embedded in the Alpine landscape.

The design is an intertwined, spiraling pavilion which is meant to be experienced "as a storyline for visitors," conceptualized as a linear sequence of spaces and events. This includes lounges, galleries, and workshops, as well as part of the workshop where the company started.'

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Low/Rise House by Spiegel Aihara Workshop

Low/Rise House by Spiegel Aihara Workshop | sustainable architecture |

Low/Rise House by Spiegel Aihara Workshop:

“The Low/Rise House reimagines the suburban housing type through interlocking bars of shared and private program. The composition re-appropriates the traditional forms of the California ranch house and farm tower as tools of environmental performance and social interaction, deployed to create variable density, natural ventilation, solar energy generation, day-lighting, and immersion into the site.

The structure is long, low, and narrow, settling into the tree-lined landscape and allowing yards to surround and permeate each room. A 3-story tower and roof deck emerges among vibrant evergreens, providing a unique vantage point of the surrounding townscape.

Through an integral relationship between form and material, the structure responds sensitively site, nature, and neighborhood.”

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Siemens Middle East Headquarters by Sheppard Robson

Siemens Middle East Headquarters by Sheppard Robson | sustainable architecture |

By 2025, Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City (planned by Foster and Partners) will have 50,000 inhabitants and be the world’s first zero-carbon community. Sheppard Robson’s latest addition to the plan, Siemens Middle East Headquarters, is one of the project’s most sustainable buildings to date – realised at a cost of a conventional office

The optimisation of the office’s interior – being wholly column-free, divisible into 32 separate offices and punctured with shaded light-wells, as well as highly efficient use of building materials – meant that more budget could be allocated to the much-needed, high-performance envelope. Furthermore, it is hoped that the spatial flexibility of the interior will expand the building’s functional lifespan.

This results in the use of highly insulating, airtight façade and aluminium fins that block out direct sunlight.

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A Self-Sufficient Farmhouse With a Sheep-Pasture Roof

A Self-Sufficient Farmhouse With a Sheep-Pasture Roof | sustainable architecture |

Architect Jesse Thompson of Kaplan Thompson Architects recalls they were approached by their clients with a simple request: “We want a house where our sheep can graze on our roof.”

Earthship Farmstead, as the home is called, “is a riff on the earth-sheltered Earthship homes of the ’70s,” Thompson explains. “Off the grid, natural materials, that sort of thing. This is akin to that but much higher-end finished.” 

Betty Fitzgerald's curator insight, June 2, 2014 7:23 PM

I loved the original Earthship homes of the 70's!  A decades long desire to let sheep graze  on your roof  now perfected  by today's green  technology.  Love it!

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Metz Museum by Shigeru Ban

Metz Museum by Shigeru Ban | sustainable architecture |

Shigeru Ban says that in designing the idiosyncratic new construction, he was inspired by the “architecture” of traditional Chinese hats woven from rice straw.

The offices, with their large, smooth windows, were accommodated in the angular transoms of Centre Pompidou in Metz, and appear to have been pushed into the hat. These white cubes were highlighted by the flatness of the Alucobond® elements in pure white. The new 10,000- square metre centre for the arts in north eastern France does not exhibit any collection of its own but makes use of works stored at the Paris centre, which, with more than 65,000 works, owns the largest collection of contemporary and modern art in Europe.

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Sengukan Museum, Japan by A. Kuryu Architect & Lighting Planners Associates

Sengukan Museum, Japan by A. Kuryu Architect & Lighting Planners Associates | sustainable architecture |

Tokyo architect Akira Kuryu designed an Ise Shrine Sengu museum where, for the first time, visitors are able to view large-scale models of and artifacts salvaged from the buildings. Because he needed good lighting to accentuate the displays, Kuryu turned to the Tokyo-based Lighting Planners Associates (LPA).

LPA developed an illumination plan that creates a series of contrasting light and dark spaces. “Merging natural and artificial light was the most important consideration,” says lighting designer Kaoru Mende. Blending the two enabled the museum to rely on daylight during its hours of operation (it closes at 4 p.m., except on special holidays), so visitors are able to view the displays as if in the shrine's natural setting.

By paying close attention to the sun's daily cycle, keeping the installed lighting elements to a minimum building-wide and fine-tuning the intensity of each one, LPA makes it seem as if there are barely any lights at all.

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A cross-shaped, self-sufficient micro home built from containers

A cross-shaped, self-sufficient micro home built from containers | sustainable architecture |

Georgian architect Dachi Papuashvili has developed a concept for a cross-shaped micro home built from shipping containers to house a member of the church.

Papuashvili, who is based in Tbilisi, wanted to design a residence that could accommodate either a cleric or a layman as a retreat for study. The intention is to use waste materials, including shipping containers, to produce a prototype that can be easily constructed and would be entirely self-sufficient.

Catherine Devin's curator insight, May 12, 2014 5:30 AM

Autre projet encore de résidence temporaire ultralégère en énergie grise et en consommation énergétique (autosuffisante) au quotidien.  Plutôt qu'un lieu de vacances, un lieu de retraite et d'étude.

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Shigeru Ban's Nomadic Museum: Container Art in Santa Monica

Shigeru Ban's Nomadic Museum: Container Art in Santa Monica | sustainable architecture |

Shigeru Ban’s inventive yet frugal Nomadic Museum berths on the Santa Monica beachfront

For the past 14 years, Gregory Colbert has been filming the interaction of animals and humans around the world, creating images of great beauty. In 2002, he mounted an exhibition, Ashes and Snow, in the Corderia of the Venice Arsenal e. and invited Shigeru Ban to design a prefabricated gallery in which this show could be displayed in varied locations.

Naturalist and architect shared a concern to make the building environmentally sensitive, and for Ban it was a challenge to recycle commonplace materials on a heroic scale. 

François Lanthier's curator insight, April 30, 2014 10:35 AM

What a great idea!  Quelle bonne idée!

Shanghai Metal Corporation's curator insight, November 5, 2014 2:35 AM

Shipping container is a new and interesting industrial art category.

Check our shipping containers in and think what could be made out of them!