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sustainable architecture
design strategies + innovative technologies that promote a sustainable built environment
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Rai Studio & Architecture for Humanity: Social Sustainability through Construction

Rai Studio & Architecture for Humanity: Social Sustainability through Construction | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

A collaborative effort between Rai Studio, Architecture for Humanity and the Norwegian Refugee Council proposes an adobe prototype in Iran, updating traditional construction techniques to address issues of erosion, durability and insulation.



The project has been the result of intense research, following Rai Studio's focus on "social sustainability". This investigation sought to identify habits and beliefs in this group of refugees, from construction techniques and timeframes to the importance and meaning of concepts such as "privacy". 

Upon observation and research, the built structure materialized using traditional construction techniques and materials, replicating the functions of previously existing shelters as well as their spatial qualities.

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H House: a modular + contemporary interpretation of traditional architecture

H House: a modular + contemporary interpretation of traditional architecture | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
Not far from Budapest, on the fringes of a forest, there stands Tamás Dévényi’s shingle covered new house. The disarmingly simple building creates generous spatial relations on the 1,5 hectare land. The proximity of the bustling city life doesn’t mean that we can not relish the convenience of nature and the separation of a farmhouse. Borrowing its form and use of materials from the Central-European peasant architecture, the building’s modular structure follows contemporary design thinking.


The requirements for a country house have changed a lot during the past hundred years, but using the old Hungarian peasant house’s archetype was a good starting point for the design in a situation where the strict local building regulations tie the architects’ freedom, according to local resources.


Read further to learn how the project team incorporated vernacular typologies to create a contemporary, modular + green farmhouse in a rural context...

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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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Back to Earth | Vernacular Architecture

Back to Earth | Vernacular Architecture | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it
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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Living Within Nature: A Contemporary Farm House in Sweden

Living Within Nature: A Contemporary Farm House in Sweden | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

This house on the west coast of Sweden is a family retreat and is a contemporary interpretation of the vernacular Swedish farmhouse, while living in close contact with nature.


The house is clad with untreated wood on the outside that will turn grey over time. The inside of the house is more delicate. The large living room / kitchen can be opened up with large sliding glazed doors so the inside becomes part of the outside.

It's considered a "'super-normal" house that is both modern and traditional at the same time.


Visit the link for more photos of this beautiful and contextual project...

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Modular materiality at House K by Auerbach Halevy Architects

Modular materiality at House K by Auerbach Halevy Architects | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

A unique example of sustainable and modular design influenced and reflective of the vernacular and local tradition, while incorporating modern materials and concepts...


In a rural area in Israel, Auerbach-Halevy has designed a distinctive house.  The design is a concrete block, and the north elevation facing the street and both side facades seem completely opaque, yet they are not alienated to their environment.
The entire structure is covered with a uniform system of prefabricated exposed concrete panels, which are integrated with heavy wood Latticework – A reminder to the traditional oriental element – the eastern trellis (“mashrabia”). The combination of materials and distribution arrangements add warmth, and ease the rigid system.


In HOUSE K the pre-cast concrete panels participate in the interior design, dictate the rhythm in the house and affect its scale.
The unique appearance of the house expresses locality, and by combining the exposed concrete elements with the trellis wooden work, creates a unified and coherent language. This combination of elements transcends beyond the contrasting and complementary nature of the materials, resolves the symbolic collision produced by the components, and therefore creating a unity between tradition Arab style and modernist building.

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Design for Ethiopia's New Stadium Blends Tradition With Modern Materials, Engineering

Design for Ethiopia's New Stadium Blends Tradition With Modern Materials, Engineering | sustainable architecture | Scoop.it

A consortium led by Australia’s LAVA has won an international competition to design a national stadium and sports village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Its concept blends traditional Ethiopian architectural and construction practices with new technology to create a modern piece of infrastructure.

The team was selected by Ethiopia's Federal Sport Commission (FSC), which wants to replace the current 25,000-seat national stadium with a 60,000-seat stadium and related sports facilities. FSC wants to begin construction in 2014.

Traditional Ethiopian architecture includes examples of excavated historical structures, including ancient rock churches as well as dwellings and cisterns. The team's concept, which includes a sunken arena surrounded by grandstands formed from excavated material, captures elements of those traditional treatments in the stadium’s design...

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