sustainable architecture
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sustainable architecture
design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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Chicago Horizon: A Negative Carbon Kiosk at the Architecture Biennial

Chicago Horizon: A Negative Carbon Kiosk at the Architecture Biennial | sustainable architecture |

How much kiosk can you get for $75,000? Chicago Horizon probes this question through a quest to build the largest flat wood roof possible. Using Cross-Laminated Timber, a new carbon-negative engineered lumber product, in the largest dimensions commercially available, the kiosk aims to provide an excess of public space for the Architecture Biennial and Chicago beach-goers.

Chicago Horizon is constructed almost entirely out of engineered timber products, including CLT for the roof canopy and glulam columns, making its total carbon impact negative due to the ability of wood to sequester atmospheric carbon. The canopy is to be fully protected by a roof membrane and an exterior grade plywood deck, ensuring its longevity.

More details + information at the link.

Norm Miller's curator insight, October 17, 2015 12:34 PM

Great parks make great cities.

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LEAPfactory installs prefabricated ski school beside Mont Blanc

LEAPfactory installs prefabricated ski school beside Mont Blanc | sustainable architecture |
Using a custom-designed structure, LEAPfactory has constructed a new building for a ski and snowboard school beside the highest mountain in the Alps.

Situated in the shadow of Mont Blanc, on the south-east side of the France-Italy border, the small hut provides a new reception and lounge for the Courmayeur Ski and Snowboard School.

"The new structure is made with innovative, highly performing and durable materials: it does not contain concrete nor permanent parts, and it is completely reversible, replaceable and recyclable," said the team.

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Sustainable Design: The Holcim Foundation Names 13 Winners in North America

Sustainable Design: The Holcim Foundation Names 13 Winners in North America | sustainable architecture |
The triennial competition awarded $330,000 to projects that the design jury determined as pushing the envelope of sustainability.

Because the cutting edge in sustainable design is constantly edging forward, building technologies that were deemed innovative a decade ago have become standard in architecture. To celebrate the latest thinking in design performance and efficiency, the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, based in Zurich, Switzerland, announced the recipients of its 2014 Holcim Awards for North America on Sept. 18. About 250 people attended the awards ceremony, which was held in the Evergreen Brick Works event space—itself a 2008 Holcim Acknowledgement prize winner—in Toronto.

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A Transparent Work Environment in the Netherlands: Mirai House

A Transparent Work Environment in the Netherlands: Mirai House | sustainable architecture |

Designed by amsterdam-based architecture firm, UNStudio, the ‘mirai house’ employs a high performance skin dynamically framed in white to unify the three functions of Astellas’ headquarters in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Consisting of six storeys of offices and laboratories, and a large entrance lobby, each programmatic element has its own segment of the building encircling the central courtyard. Speaking to the company’s heritage, the garden is informed by traditional enclosed japanese landscaping. The importance of visual connection among the functions, open communication, a transparent work environment, and sufficient daylighting is emphasized by the extensive use of glass in the facade and skylights at the lower levels. 

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Sky City, China: World's tallest prefab building breaks ground in June

Sky City, China: World's tallest prefab building breaks ground in June | sustainable architecture |

Sky City in Changsha, China, will be 2750 feet tall, 220 stories, housing 30,000 people in 4450 apartments, with excavation and construction slated to begin in June, 2013.

Aiming to accommodate a growing population, the skyscraper is considered a "pragmatic" building, designed for efficiency, affordability, replicability.

The Sky City concept significantly reduces the per capita use of land, and the associated CO2 emissions generated, thus providing a means of large-scale development with a significantly lower impact on the environment.

As a result, a resident of Sky City will be using 1/100th the average land per person- learn more about this innovative building concept and its sustainable features at Treehugger.

Sofi Lapizco's curator insight, May 19, 2013 12:05 AM

En esto se muestra el diseño de un edificio el cual fue pensado en algunos de los gustos de las demas personas, pensado para que sea atractivo para todos y llamativo.

Sky City en Changsha, China, será 2.750 metros de altura, 220 pisos, viviendas 30.000 personas en 4.450 viviendas, con la excavación y la construcción debieran comenzar en junio de 2013.

Con el objetivo de dar cabida a una población cada vez mayor, el rascacielos se considera un edificio "pragmático", diseñado para la eficiencia, la asequibilidad, la replicabilidad.

El concepto Sky City reduce significativamente el uso per cápita de la tierra, y las emisiones de CO2 asociadas generadas, lo que proporciona un medio para el desarrollo a gran escala con un impacto mucho menor sobre el medio ambiente.

Como resultado, un residente de la ciudad del cielo va a utilizar 1/100o la tierra media por persona de aprender más acerca de este concepto innovador edificio y sus características sostenibles en Treehugger.

Robert T. Preston's curator insight, June 2, 2013 1:24 PM

Article about the new megalithic "Sky City" building breaking ground, this month.  A half mile tall, it will be huge, and will cut the human footprint down considerably, from people with standard homes.

Robert T. Preston's comment, June 6, 2013 9:33 PM
My wife works with the Chinese on many projects. They are quite ambitious, but occasionally, their ambition gets ahead of safety, and quality control. Let's hope that with this beast, they get it all right.
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Experiential Learning Building at University of Calgary by Perkins+Will

Experiential Learning Building at University of Calgary by Perkins+Will | sustainable architecture |

Located at the University of Calgary, the Energy Environment Experiential Learning (EEEL) building is a five-story teaching facility that allows students to learn in an experiential and hands-on environment.

WIth approximately 11,000 sm of teaching laboratories and 2,500 sm of classroom space, space is provided for up to 3,000 sm of future research labs. The structural module and arrangement of the building systems allows the university long-term flexibility to convert spaces efficiently from one use to another.

The project also incorporates a number of solar control strategies, such as sculpted aluminum spandrel panels and solar shutters that actively track the sun to provide fully daylit but glare-free interior spaces. Additional environmental strategies include the use of thermal mass, an efficient envelope, natural ventilation, earth tubes, and low-energy systems, which contribute to the project using 45% less energy compared to a conventional laboratory building.  Low-flow fixtures and use of captured rain water mixed with recycled process water for toilet flushing reduces potable water use by 64%.

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Earth Sciences Building / University of British Columbia

Earth Sciences Building / University of British Columbia | sustainable architecture |

The Earth Sciences Building is located on the Vancouver campus of the University of British Columbia. It is the new home for three of UBC’s Science departments—Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Statistics, and the Pacific Institute of the Mathematical Sciences.

In addition to enhancing the growing links between each department by providing valuable opportunities for shared learning and collaboration, the ESB expands the Faculty of Science’s public face and helps to create a vibrant and animated centre for the Faculty on campus.

The wood structure provides a welcoming environment, and as an added environmental benefit, the 1,317 cubic meters of wood in the structure store 1,094 tonnes of carbon, the equivalent of taking 415 cars off the road for a year. To provide rain cover for pedestrians, a solid wood canopy wraps three sides of the project. It extends from inside the building, where it forms the interior ceiling finish of the museum and cafe, blurring the boundaries between interior and exterior space...

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Prefab House is Living Lab for Energy and Water Conservation

Prefab House is Living Lab for Energy and Water Conservation | sustainable architecture |

The New Norris House continues a tradition of simple, affordable design but with less impact on local resources.

While it serves as a test case for innovative building systems and techniques, instead of promoting the use of resources, the 1,006-square-foot prefab cottage is focused on conservation and self-reliance.
Certified to and exceeding LEED-Platinum standards by 30 percent, the project works with natural resources such as sunlight and rainwater to reduce its environmental footprint. It uses no fossil fuels, thanks to the TVA’s hydropower dams, and uses 50% less energy than similar-sized homes in the area...
Peyton Conner's curator insight, December 2, 2015 9:58 AM

This articles shows a good insight on how conserving energy is so simple that it can be included in almost  every feature of this home. These energy techniques are both old and new but they both are effective and efficient.PC

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MM house in Sao Paulo, Brazil by studio mk27

MM house in Sao Paulo, Brazil by studio mk27 | sustainable architecture |

Brazilian practice studio mk27 has completed the 'MM house' in Braganca Paulista, a wooded municipality of Sao Paulo.

The dwelling consists of two perpendicular rectangular footprints, and features a green roof that blends into the landscape.

A folding screen of retractable slender wooden slats wraps the entire envelope along the exterior glass wall, softening any direct sunlight, with all the bedrooms situated along the eastern elevation facing the valley. The indoor/outdoor gathering space is completely open to the elements where the solid building mass intersects with a wooden deck, allowing occupants to fully engage with the environment. The public living room and tv room at either side of this outdoor room contain large glass doors, enabling a strong visual connection among all the shared spaces.

The timber terrace extends out towards the lower area of the site, ending in a swimming pool upon a concrete plinth that reflects the picturesque environment.

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Architecture to the rescue: the world's greenest projects

Architecture to the rescue: the world's greenest projects | sustainable architecture |

From the home for skateboarders in Afghanistan to houses made entirely of sandbags in South Africa, here's a selection of the most innovative sustainable architecture from around the world...

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Are straw bales the future of sustainable building?

Are straw bales the future of sustainable building? | sustainable architecture |
Straw bale is a low impact, low carbon building material making strides towards mainstream acceptance. So is it about time we took notice?


As designers and homeowners look for imaginative ways to help reduce their carbon footprint in the campaign against climate change, straw bale could become a new tool in the building industry’s armoury. Straw, a natural by-product of farming, is collected and baled, tightly compacted, and fitted into a frame before being rendered with earthen or lime stucco.

The practice was prevalent during the 1800s throughout the American prairie states but fell out of favour with people turning to bricks and mortar. Unlike hay, straw contains no nutritional value for livestock and is often sold as bedding for farm animals – or burnt. Unlike other recycled materials currently used in the building industry, such as car tyres or recycled plastics, straw bale can be used in its raw state requiring no further processing...

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Efficiency and Brooklyn Botanic's New 'Do

Efficiency and Brooklyn Botanic's New 'Do | sustainable architecture |

Last week, as spring's balmy temperatures took a temporary dip into glacier territory, the two founding partners of architecture and urbanism firm Weiss/Manfredi led a hard hat tour of their new visitors center at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (opening in a mere six weeks!). Luckily, magnolias and cherry trees were already in bloom and a bright sun illuminated the mostly-transparent structure. The deceptively modest structure is nestled into a hill on the northeast corner of the site, so 50 percent of its envelope benefits from thermal efficiency. And like any ground-up civil structure worth its salt, it's sustainable, with a geoexchange system comprised of 28 heating and cooling wells, radiant floor heating, and landscaping made of postconsumer recycled building materials...

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Casey Key Guest House by TOTeMS Architecture

Casey Key Guest House by TOTeMS Architecture | sustainable architecture |

The guest residence, located on a barrier island, is set within a mature oak hammock along Sarasota Bay. The structure is inspired by the character of the live oaks, which have been shaped by the prevailing coastal winds from the west.

The Owner requested a design that was a “house in the trees”. A small program, including one bedroom, bath, living area with kitchenette, and a loft is organized to provide privacy between a neighboring property to the north, while offering broad views of the oak hammock to the south and west, and the intercoastal waterway to the east.

Curved glulam pine beams, which are anchored to the elevated concrete slab at their base, curve up and over the entire space, reflect the arching quality of the live oak limbs. Ship lap cypress siding is used to clad the exterior walls and the interior walls between the glulam beams.

The design is intended to evoke an organic architecture that is influenced by, and reflective of its site...

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Facebook's New HQ has a Massive 9-Acre Garden on the Roof

Facebook's New HQ has a Massive 9-Acre Garden on the Roof | sustainable architecture |

When Facebook approached famed Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry to design their new headquarters in Menlo Park, California, they asked for a simple building without a heavy design. And while the building might look pretty conventional from down below, 70-feet up on the roof is something light on the environment and the spirits: a 9-acre garden.

The building, called MPK 20, is topped by a parkland with verdant green fields of grass, over 400 trees, and a lot of trails. “It’s a half mile loop,”says Lori Goler, head of human resources and recruiting. “It gives space to think.”

Barzisa Sabine's curator insight, August 25, 2015 10:02 AM

Great new headquarter for thinkers !

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Solar-powered dormitory houses medical staff in African village

Solar-powered dormitory houses medical staff in African village | sustainable architecture |
Solar panels provide all the energy needed to power this brick dormitory designed by Louise Braverman to house medical staff at a rural village in Burundi.

The Village Health Works Staff Housing accommodates an 18-bed dormitory for the healthcare workers in the 16-hectare village of Kigutu. It was designed by New York-based Louise Braverman as part of a wider masterplan for the area.

Lola Ripollés's curator insight, December 30, 2014 4:12 AM

It is great to use well available resources.

A. Perry Homes's curator insight, December 31, 2014 2:12 PM

Tech and design, together, can make beautiful things

Stafford Battle's curator insight, January 8, 2015 4:34 PM

Africa will help lead the solar revolution.

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The Cairns Institute by Woods Bagot and RPA Architects

The Cairns Institute by Woods Bagot and RPA Architects | sustainable architecture |

As a repository of regional knowledge and research capacity, the The Cairns Institute is perfectly positioned to make a significant contribution to the development of a sustainable quality of life for tropical communities. The Woods Bagot design team, in collaboration with RPA Architects, designed a building that represents its place and its context in a new and exciting way.

Intrinsic to the design is a celebration of the rainforest setting and enrichment of the place experience. An evolving landscape skin, a ‘trellis’, defines the building, offering aesthetics and sun control, while a variety of micro climate ecologies around the building have been created.

The design assists in minimising running costs for the university whilst contributing to the quality of the environment, in line with the university’s aspirations to achieve a sustainable outcome for the building.

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Nanying University Learning Hub by Thomas Heatherwick

Nanying University Learning Hub by Thomas Heatherwick | sustainable architecture |

Thomas Heatherwick's Learning Hub for Nanyang Technological University democratizes the learning experience with cylindrical towers.

The design resists the idea that university buildings need be compositions of artificially lit, endless corridors with a distinct cylindrical shapes that maximize daylight and encourages the incidental meeting of fellow entrepreneurs, scientists or colleagues. 55 tutorial rooms are devoid of traditional hallways and organized around a central space that links the towers together.

Students can enter the corner-free spaces from 360 degrees and engage with colleagues and professors on rooftop gardens. The upper floors and green rooftops enjoy views of picturesque synthetic and natural landscapes. Award-winning green measures include the use of hydrophilic polymers, a material process that eliminates the need for irrigation, vertical greenery and recycled concrete aggregate as a material. The design will be completed in 2014.

Travis Haggerty's curator insight, July 17, 2013 3:21 PM

Wow... Now that is some futuristic design right there. It would be great to get a look at this when it is done. 

aboali's comment, July 17, 2013 7:52 PM
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New York's 'Folded' School of Engineering And Applied Science by Perkins+Will

New York's 'Folded' School of Engineering And Applied Science by Perkins+Will | sustainable architecture |

The Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences was designed by Perkins+Will in New York, with an intriguing and innovative sustainable design.

The concept, characterised by an irregular folded-like structure wrapped in copper, aims to mark a new 'Front Door' for the School of Engineering. The building is organized around a multi-story gallery that allows students to circulate easily through the space. The intriguing learning space is vibrant and breezy; students can sit, discuss projects or share ideas over a cup of coffee in the multi-story student lounge.

Seeking LEED Gold, efficient strategies include improved building shell insulation, high-performance windows, energy efficient lighting design with occupancy and photo sensor control.

Adolfo Sequeira Orellana's comment, April 30, 2013 7:58 PM
so beatiful
Glenn Laughlin's curator insight, November 25, 2013 12:16 PM

It is always nice getting a new building especially designed specifically for you, and by the students

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A Sustainable High-Rise Greens the Sydney Skyline

A Sustainable High-Rise Greens the Sydney Skyline | sustainable architecture |

While action toward building ‘greener’ more sustainable structures is gaining momentum in Europe and America, an office tower from down-under is putting Australia on the green buildings map.

A 30 story high-rise office tower in Sydney, Australia’s central business district, 1 Bligh Street a treasure trove of sustainable innovation and design.Designed by Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects, this environmentally responsible office tower is set to create a benchmark in Australia for sustainable high-rise buildings and provide an enduring presence on the city skyline.

“The dramatic, naturally-ventilated central atrium connects the office workers with nature at the inner depths of the plan, giving a sense of openness for the entire building. The series of communal spaces throughout the building, and especially the fantastic rooftop garden, add greatly to the quality of life for the tenants.”

Read further and view more images at the article link...

Norm Miller's curator insight, April 4, 2013 2:32 PM

High rises can be sustainable!


Shanghai Metal Corporation's curator insight, November 19, 2014 3:03 AM

We manufacture & supply various building materials. To see more :

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Case Study in Efficiency: SOM's Diagonal Tower in South Korea

Case Study in Efficiency:  SOM's Diagonal Tower in South Korea | sustainable architecture |

SOM’s Diagonal Tower in Yongsan International Business District of Seoul, South Korea, is a case study in efficiency – the 343 meter tall tower successfully minimizes wind loads, reduces construction costs, provides dramatic views and meets strict energy codes by integrating massing, structure and performance.

The design of this landmark skyscraper, with glazed triangular facets, employs passive environmental control strategies within and on the façade – sunshades are positioned at varying angles on each building exposure, mitigating heat gain in the summer and permitting direct sunlight to warm the building’s interiors during the cold winter months. Triple pane glazed exterior curtain wall decreases energy loss, while active chilled beam system surpasses traditional air driven systems, using water as a medium for transferring heating and cooling energy, which results in less energy consumption along with great environmental comfort for building users...

Natalie Curtis's curator insight, March 22, 2013 9:10 AM

A really interesting and amazing building. Very self sufficient and really quite fascinating. It's enery-efficient and great to look at simultaneously.

Kang ji yun 's curator insight, May 25, 2013 11:59 PM

It is very wonderful building!! when it comes to the diagonal tower, it serves more than visual stimuli. Even though the Diagonal Tower is similar to Norman Foster's Hearst Tower in New York, it's megaframe reduces the amount of steel required by over 25% when compared to conventionally framed buildings.

Amelia's comment, May 26, 2013 9:59 AM
I hope we have one also in Daejeon.. hehe..
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Swooping Bamboo Structure Highlights Innovative Use of Local Materials

Swooping Bamboo Structure Highlights Innovative Use of Local Materials | sustainable architecture |

Using local materials, this impressive bamboo structure features a microcosm of imaginative spaces designed for a range of playful activities.

This incredible bamboo structure, by Dutch firm 24H-architecture, is part of the Soneva Kiri eco-resort on the island of Koh Kood, Thailand. Designed as a children's activity and learning center, the fantastic interiors are bound to impress even the most stoic grown-up.

Evoking the fluid shape of a manta ray, the center is located on a rocky slope overlooking the bay, with a large canopy of bamboo shingles sheltering the open interior of "mini-structures". The structure uses locally-sourced bamboo stalks of all sizes, ranging from the large main columns that are anchored into concrete footings to the other structural members that are grouped together using nuts and bolts and natural fiber lashings.

From the architects:

The design adopts all bioclimatic aspects to suits its humid tropical environment. The roof cantilevers up to 8 metres, acting like a big umbrella providing shade and protection from the heavy rains. The open design with the translucent elevated rooftop and setback floors allow a natural airflow inside and the use of natural daylight, limiting the building’s energy consumption.

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Intelligent Shading System at Abu Dhabi's Al Bahar Towers

Intelligent Shading System at Abu Dhabi's Al Bahar Towers | sustainable architecture |

Abu Dhabi’s new inspiring architectural design might lead to even further research into the world of transforming interior and exterior environments with ingenious creativity. Al Bahar Towers housing the Abu Dhabi Investment Council Headquarters are now part of Aedas Architects' portfolio, rising tall to shape a new era in modern office building design. Inspired by a traditional Islamic lattice shading device named “mashrabiya”, the interesting geometric shapes enveloping the towers offer a powerful visual impact while intelligently protecting the interiors from excessive heat gain. Each of the 25-story high twin office towers in the United Arab Emirates will accommodate approximately 1,000 employees, who will be working in an inspiring, environmentally appropriate atmosphere...

Monica S Mcfeeters's curator insight, December 24, 2012 11:46 PM

What a sight to behold and this article tells us more details of these amazing structures.

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Sustainable Leblon Offices in Rio de Janeiro by Richard Meier & Partners

Sustainable Leblon Offices in Rio de Janeiro by Richard Meier & Partners | sustainable architecture |

Richard Meier & Partners is proud to announce their first project in South America. The new Leblon Offices will be a sustainable and state-of-the-art building in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.The new office building located in the Leblon neighborhood, will be the iconic new international headquarters for VINCI Partners in Brazil. The design scheme consists primarily of open office spaces and a series of terraces which open up and create a direct connection with the urban artery.

The design of the office building with its refined formal vocabulary reflects the distinct orientation of the site while addressing issues of sustainability, maximum efficiency and flexibility. The building will be recessed from the urban frontage and masked with a set of louvers designed for both maximum sun shading and privacy retention to the west. On the east, the building has been pulled away from its neighbors to create an internal courtyard and provide natural day lighting on two exposures for all offices. This void creates a generous vertical garden that ties back into a rough and refined exposed architectural concrete service core. The entire project straddles between the refined precision of a white aluminum and glass, free-plan office and the roughness of concrete and vegetation within the courtyard and is reconciled by an illuminated glass bridge...

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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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Mecano House / Juan Robles

Mecano House / Juan Robles | sustainable architecture |

Casa Mecano function as an organism composed by a structure, skin and a mechanism that adapts the its environment. The project maximize the use of passive design strategies through biocli matic architecture in sinergy with the integration of a Building Management System that operate the glazingvents in order to achieve the thermal comfort levels, adequate for the tropical environment.

At the same time, the team designed a manual system that allows the client to change the in clination of a sail, with the goal of controlling the direct sunlight projected inside the house. The project maximize function in the smallests pace possible, reducing the footprint and allowing the minimum use of construction materials...

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