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sustainable architecture
design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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Ribbon Chapel / NAP Architects

Ribbon Chapel / NAP Architects | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This wedding chapel stands in a garden of a resort hotel, “Bella Vista Sakaigahama,” in Onomichi, Hiroshima. The site is midway on a hill enjoying a panoramic view of the Inland Sea of Japan. By entwining two spiral stairways, we realized a free-standing building of unprecedented composition and architecturally embodied the act of marriage in a pure form. A single spiral stairway would be unsteady in a horizontal direction and is prone to vibration in a vertical direction, hence, very unstable.

The building’s exterior is finished in upright wood panels, painted white so as to deepen in beauty as time passes, and titanium zinc alloy, a material resistant to damage from the sea breeze and pliable enough to be applied to curvature. Employing the zinc alloy on the coping, walls, ceiling, and window sashes enabled a simple design unified by means of a single material.

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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 | Scoop.it

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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Ogaki House by Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates

Ogaki House by Katsutoshi Sasaki + Associates | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This geometric design is influenced by the surroundings and the conditions of the site.

In winter seasons, the strong west wind (the fall wind of Ibuki) blows, so the design suppresses the load of the building by extending its roof up to the close to the ground soil and fending off cold winds at the roof. In summer seasons, the structure discharges the accumulated heat inside to the outside through the void of the inner court.

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Minimalism + Light: Curved Courtyard House in Naruto, Japan

Minimalism + Light: Curved Courtyard House in Naruto, Japan | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

A minimalist house with a curved exterior that provides privacy, security, natural light and air circulation, and plenty of space for children to play.


Osaka-based architect Naoko Horibe was given a tall order when she set out to design this residence in Naruto-Shi, Tokushima, Japan. First, the property is located in an area that tends to flood during heavy rains. Second, the clients wanted their new home to provide security and privacy, while at the same time having enough space for their children. And last, but not least, they asked for the house to have good natural light and air circulation throughout.

To work around the potential flooding situation, the foundation and floor were built fairly high. The house itself is designed such that the rooms are built around a central courtyard. The rooms loop together and create a path for the kids to run around. 

The courtyard helps bring light into the interior, helping to achieve one of the clients’ requests. It also helps with air circulation.


View more photos at the article link.

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Kengo Kuma’s Modern Interpretation of an 800-Year-Old Japanese Hut

Kengo Kuma’s Modern Interpretation of an 800-Year-Old Japanese Hut | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Kengo Kuma’s version of the humble dwelling is a transparent temporary shelter dubbed “Hojoan 800 years later” and it is currently on display at Kyoto’s Shigamo Shrine.

This modernized version of Buddhist monk Kamono Chomei’s portable hut immortalized centuries ago in the influential essay ”Hojo-ki” (“An Account of My Hut”).  ”Hojo-an After 800 Years,” on display at Kyoto’s Shimogamo Jinja Shrine, is a tribute to Chomei’s efficient home, often regarded as a prototype for Japan’s compact housing. Reflecting the mobility of the original structure, Kuma’s hut is constructed of ETFE sheets that can easily be rolled up. Working in combination with a cedar structure and powerful magnets, the soft architecture becomes a single, more structured unit.

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B House in Shimasaki by Anderson Anderson Architecture

B House in Shimasaki by Anderson Anderson Architecture | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This hillside cabin in Japan by Anderson Anderson Architecture generates energy using photovoltaic panels and a ground-sourced heat pump.


Despite being surrounded by electricity pylons, this cabin by San Francisco firm generates all its own energy and heating using photovoltaic panels and a ground-sourced heat pump. Named B-House, the single-storey building is positioned on a slope overlooking Kumamoto.

The house was built on a tight budget and sustainability was key to the design. “The extremely modest budget required a close collaboration of the architects and builder to achieve a high quality, off-site fabricated timber frame construction meeting high sustainability standards,” explain the architects.


Read more about the sustainable features of this unique contemporary home and view more images at the article link...

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Greening Japan: sustainable trends in architecture + reconstruction

Greening Japan: sustainable trends in architecture + reconstruction | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Japan’s historic architecture was among the most sustainable and environmentally friendly on the planet. Think of a traditional machiya (merchant’s house) or even a palace, such as the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto; made of local materials such as wood, tatami, paper.
The 20th century’s rush to modernize favored new technologies over tradition, and Japan became one of the most exciting architectural landscapes on the globe. There are few environments as adventurous: a place where microhouses are built on microscopic building sites, where skyscrapers rise on seismic quake lines and where material and form are pushed to new heights- it is a constantly changing architectural landscape... 

But the price for this constant reinvention is often environmental; with global economic uncertainty and recent disasters, Japan has had to rethink how it wants to go forward. It could be the beginning of a quiet architectural revolution, as architects and urban planners – as well as the public – question architectural ideals since 1945 and ask: how can this be done better?


Now, with reconstruction beginning, the need and desire to find innovative and sustainable ways of building is growing. Japanese architecture has traditionally prized and worked in response to nature, so it's no surprise that architects are not only looking to new green technology but also back to Japan’s architectural traditions; a shoji screen can be as relevant as a solar panel in sustainable architecture...


Visit the link for the complete article for case studies, example projects and more images that address this new phase of architecture and sustainable development in Japan.

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Space-Savvy Sustainable Design for a Live-Work Studio...

Space-Savvy Sustainable Design for a Live-Work Studio... | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
Michael Fifield, AIA, principal of Fifield Architecture + Urban Design in Eugene, Ore., believes true sustainable design must address the problem of land consumption.

“Higher densities are really needed in the future,” he says. “One way of doing that is for people to have smaller living units. You can take a small building and effectively make it feel much larger.”
Hanna Yoshimura, an artist who lives primarily in Japan, knew of Fifield's interest in compact design. She asked him to design a live/work studio behind it where she could spend two to three months per year. Fifield obliged with a trim, 269-square-foot structure. Its windows borrow views of neighboring gardens, and its south-facing glass wall opens to a deck that extends the living room outside. The two upstairs lofts' ladders, half walls, and exposed rafters are designed to take up as little physical and visual space as possible. On the main level, a radiant heat concrete floor eliminates the need for bulky radiators. The floor's control joints match a good-luck tatami mat layout, in a subtle nod to the client's Japanese heritage...

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KUS: machida m | Tokyo, Japan

KUS: machida m | Tokyo, Japan | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Japanese architects KUS (eijiro kosugi, aya utsumi) have shared with us images of 'machida m',
a two-storey dwelling on the edge of a residential neighbourhood of machida city, Tokyo, Japan.
Responding to the lush forest that slopes up to the north of the house, the design creates an open
interface through large stretches of windows to directly engage with the natural qualities of the site.

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A Platform for Living - Homes - Dwell

A Platform for Living - Homes - Dwell | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
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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'Low Rise Waves': Science Hills Komatsu by Mari Ito

'Low Rise Waves':  Science Hills Komatsu by Mari Ito | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

On the former site of the Komatsu construction and mining equipment factory in Komatsu city, Ishikawa, Japan, Mari Ito / UAO has created the Science Hills science museum and communication center, a complex of four “low-rise waves”.

“The complex itself is constructed of four low-rise waves blending into the surrounding relatively low-rise buildings, and also into the backdrop of faraway grand peaks.” say the architects. “The Science Museum is located under the waves and consists of a 3D dome theater, a science experience learning center, a local industrial promotion center, and an incubation center.”

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A House with an Origami-Like Roof

A House with an Origami-Like Roof | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
In Japan is a tent-like home with an unusual roof that looks as if it has been folded like origami. It keeps the family safe during storms and earthquakes.

In the Mie Prefecture of Japan situated in a old village surrounded by mountains is the ORIGAMI house, designed by TSC ArchitectsThe design centers around a roof that appears folded like origami. The architect wanted the form of the house and the roof to feel like one body. The side with the sharp peak has numerous windows to look out to the mountains, while also keeping the interior filled with sunlight.

The design also allows for plenty of covered outdoor space while also controlling the amount of light and wind that enters the house.

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A Japanese House Merges the Indoors with the Outdoors

A Japanese House Merges the Indoors with the Outdoors | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Japanese architect Makoto Tanijiri of Suppose Design Office designed a residential home that merges the indoors with the outdoors. 

‘House in Takaya’ located in Hiroshima, Japan, features a polished modern exterior, but incorporates the charming traditional “doma” earthen floor in its interiors. Throughout the entire house, the “doma” acts as a hallway. 
Besides being eco-friendly, it also has benefits as it keeps the home cool in summer, and warm in winter—and adds richness to the home’s interior...

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Sheridan Tatsuno's curator insight, August 11, 2013 2:41 PM

Besides earth floors, thermal heat pumps in the ground can reduce heating and cooling costs by circulating liquids into the ground, which has stable temperature beyond 3 to 4 feet below the surface.  It would be a cheap form of decentralized energy since the earth is like a big battery.  

Cassidy's comment, August 26, 2013 11:07 PM
I would love to have a place like this!
Matthew Carrigg's curator insight, October 14, 2014 1:05 PM

In this article explains the new arts being brought into architecture making more modern houses.  Japan is diverting from its old traditionally based home which is a bad and a good thing. The bad outcome of modernizing their homes is it loses some of its culture which plays a huge role in how china works today. Although changing the way Japan's houses are constructed to give a more modern feel opens up Japans eyes with a new view of the rest of the world instead of being isolated behind it's walls.  

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Creatively Adapted to A Moderate Climate: Yatsugatake Villa in Japan

Creatively Adapted to A Moderate Climate: Yatsugatake Villa in Japan | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This countryside retreat by MDS features contemporary massing and beautiful wood interiors. Located in the foothills of the Yatsugatake mountains, in a relatively moderate climate, the residence reflects a lifestyle connected to nature and the surroundings. The project was developed using three adjacent volumes of different heights, with overhangs to control natural light and heat.


Wood is visible in the exposed beams, floors and window frames. Cross-ventilation is ensured through strategically placed windows. Two narrow terraces sheltered beneath the roof overhangs contribute to the building’s originality. “The fan-shaped design – opening to the south – means plenty of sun streams in during the cold winters: no matter the time of day there’s always a place to bask in the sun”, explained architects Kiyotoshi Mori and Natsuko Kawamura.

Lauren Moss's insight:

An example of beautiful architecture highlighting a combination of location-responsive design strategies along with a vernacular aesthetic, resulting in a unique, yet comfortable and pragmatic, dwelling...

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Meme Meadows Experimental House by Kengo Kuma and Associates

Meme Meadows Experimental House by Kengo Kuma and Associates | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This translucent cabin by architects Kengo Kuma and Associates is an experimental house in Hokkaidō, Japan, designed to test the limits of architecture in cold climates.


Inspiration came from the traditional architecture of the indigenous Ainu, whose "Chise" style buildings clad with sedge or bamboo grass hold in the warmth of a central fireplace that is never allowed to burn out.

"The fundamental idea of Chise, 'house of the earth,' is to keep warming up the ground this way and retrieve the radiation heat generated from it," say the architects. The Experimental House was constructed around a coated larch frame and it has a thick layer of polyester insulation sandwiched between the polycarbonate cladding of the exterior and the glass-fibre fabric of the interior. This insulation was made using recycled plastic bottles and it allows light to pass into the house through the walls.

As the first experimental house completed for the Meme Meadows research facility, the building will be used by the environmental technology institute to test how different factors affect the thermal qualities of its construction.

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Pedro Barbosa's curator insight, January 27, 2013 4:38 AM

There is a new group of trendsetters uniting architects, designers, tech guys and just curious-all-of us, creating new mashups that can turn into future trends some day

 

Pedro Barbosa | www.pbarbosa.com | www.harvardtrends.com

Alaskan EcoEscape Permaculture's curator insight, October 24, 2013 1:39 PM

Interesting green build????  It's certainly not a natural build though.

 

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Materiality, Light + Thermal Control: House in Yamasaki by Tato Architects

Materiality, Light + Thermal Control: House in Yamasaki by Tato Architects | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Located in a residential area in Hyogo Prefecture, the house was designed for a family with two children. “The residents requested that, as the area has short hours of sunlight in winter, they’d like to bring in as much light as possible,” said Yo Shimada of Tato Architects.


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I wanted to create light, stable indoor climate and came up with a plan of three sheds of house type arranged on a 1.8 m high foundation platform. The first floor was lowered by 760 mm below ground to optimize the heating system and regulate temperature, while preserving views to the surrounding mountains and sky for the entire residential neighborhood.

The bathroom shed and the sunroom shed provide lighting and ventilation for the lower floor and form an overhead courtyard. The sunroom collects heat in winter, and exhausts heat in summer through the five motor-operated windows.

Corrugated polycarbonate panels are used for outer walls of the three sheds to take in solar radiation, with moisture and water-absorbing sheets between the panels and structure.The inside of the walls are formed with a heat insulating layer, and the ceiling and walls of bathroom are further filled up with light transmitting thermal insulation material of reproduced PET bottles.


A house appearing as small as a peasant’s work shed of an innovative material as corrugated panels creates a new vernacular in this agricultural area. Read the article and view more photos of this very unique house that connects new and old within the rural landscape.

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Climate-responsive architecture: Villa 921 by Harunatsu-Archi

Climate-responsive architecture: Villa 921 by Harunatsu-Archi | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Villa 921 is a single-story concrete house designed to protect residents from extreme climate conditions. Located in Japan, at a remote island accessible only by boat, this unique home was designed by Harunatsu-Archi. 

Architecturally, wood and glass walls slide open across the front and rear of the building, allowing the wind to move through the spaces for natural ventilation, while projecting canopies shade the rooms and terrace from the harsh sun. During typhoons, the house and terrace can be screened behind protective coverings, which fasten onto the protruding eaves...

 

More from the architects:

“The usable area of the house only amounts to about 70 square metres,” said architects Shoko Murakaji and Naoto Murakaji. “This is by no means large, but thanks to the amazing views of the landscape, there is never a feeling of narrowness.”

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Green Cast Facade by Kengo Kuma and Associates

Green Cast Facade by Kengo Kuma and Associates | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Kengo Kuma and Associates made this wonderful detailed green facade on mixed-use building in Odawara, Japan. The green building, built in 2011, has 5 floors with parking in the basement and ground floor. Other floors are occupied by the school, offices and residence with the rooftop terrace.

"The façade of the building is covered with planters made of aluminum die-cast panels, which provides space for facilities. The 3 (up to 6) aluminum panels, which also form planters, are made in monoblock casting. Each panel is slanted, and its surface appears to be organic, of which cast comes from decayed styrene foam. Equipment such as watering hose, air reservoir for ventilation and downpipes are installed behind the panels so that the façade can accommodate a comprehensive system for the building."

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Sustainable Architecture in Japan - a greenhouse for a house!

Sustainable Architecture in Japan - a greenhouse for a house! | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

Finally, a greenhouse which can also accommodate people: the Camouflage House. Why should we continue considering that greenhouses are suitable only for plants? This house by Hiroshi Iguchi is part of the Fifth World project which aims to promote eco friendly, sustainable architecture. The house takes natural elements and blends them all into the design of the interior.

Living close to the heart of nature was never so well understood and put into practice.

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Kindergarten Centered Around a Legendary Tree - My Modern Metropolis

Kindergarten Centered Around a Legendary Tree - My Modern Metropolis | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
At the Fuji Kindergarten in Japan, Tezuka Architects created a unique environment that, as a tool for learning, promotes freedom of movement.
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