Posts Tagged ‘Green Design’

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Architecture Monday

March 25, 2019

Ah, I love this!  A new school in a remote village in Senegal, the Fass School uses local materials and know-how to beautiful effect, creating something unique and beautiful for the community.

Befitting the region, the design features lots of natural ventilation, white reflective walls, and a high ceiling to keep the space comfortable during the hot and bright days.  The tall roof also serves double duty to help channel rain to an existing underground aquafer when the driving rains arrive.  Add to all that that a generous courtyard and large porches.  It’s a wonderful example of form and function singing together, creating delightful spaces that enhance the learning within.

If this project looks a bit familiar, it is because it is by Toshiko Mori, who designed the Thread Cultural Center I posted about a few years ago.  Just like there, I love her continued exploration and use of the local forms and materials, the curving surfaces flowing together to create a unified whole, both in the school and the adjacent teacher’s house (and toilets!).

Really great work, providing a new hub and opportunity for a community, celebrating the culture, history, and creating something lovely well within the budget of a nonprofit.  Great design comes from the heart, not necessarily the wallet.

The Fass School by Toshiko Mori.

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Architecture Monday

February 25, 2019

Here’s a take on the idea of a shipping container home that I quite like.  Rather than mush all the containers together to create a single mass (much like a “regular” house), it uses the self-contained and nature of each container as a design starting point, creating a design that is both fun on the outside and works great to automatically create individualized spaces/rooms on the inside.

By laying out the three containers in a staggered formation and joining them with site-built connecting bits, each the interior gets to receive light from all four sides and the interstitial spaces can be used for a deck or a garden.  And since the containers have all their structure along the outer edge, it was easy to punch in a whole bunch of nicely appointed windows to take full advantage of the configuration.

Inside, those connective bits serve double duty, both as hallways and as either a home office or as the laundry/utility area (all of which can be closed off behind sliding doors).   It’s a very airy home, with the wood paneling letting the ample light diffuse all over, and the various bits of built-in furniture keeping things from getting too crowded.

The paneling both inside and out lets the home be well insulated, and it goes even one better, creating a floating roof that effectively creates a parasol to keep away the summer heat (just like this desert home I posted about a few years ago here).  Solar panels, water capture, gardens… this house goes all out.

I quite like it.  And while the shipping container bit is/was a great starting point (and an extra touch of sustainability) there’s plenty here that could be recreated with any style of construction (or pre-fab), creating something sculptural that perfectly shapes some fine living spaces inside.

Shipping Container Home By Modhouse.

Check out this bonus video by Living Big In A Tiny House!

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Architecture Monday

February 11, 2019

This one is a bit aspirational, but I’m liking the gusto and what I see.  A 70 story tall high rise building in Japan made almost entirely out of wood.

 

While there’s plenty to talk about on a technical level (I’ll keep it brief and really only cover the one most likely sticking out in your mind, that of, of course, fire:  Thick members of wood are surprisingly fire resistant, which is why you can’t just use a match or even a torch to directly light up a big log), it’s the expressive design that I’m loving the most.  It’s wood as far as the eye can see with that lattice-like design that wraps around the building.  Very fun to look at, and as a bonus the lattice work creates a sort of double skin, shading the building and providing plenty of space for walkways, balconies, circulation, and a whole bunch of gardens.

I’m excited to see this come to fruition.  Built right with the materials properly sourced (from FSC forestry) this is great in all sorts of ways, and it’d be a lovely addition to any city skyline.

Designed by Nikken Sekkei for Sumitomo Forestry.

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Architecture Monday

March 19, 2018

A double spiral.  One is a garden.  The other is house.  Together they intertwine to create living spaces that are never more than a step away from greenery.

From the living room (which overlooks even more greenery along with a pond/pool in the generous rear yard) through the kitchen to the office to the bedroom, the continuous meadow-like greenery follows the rise of the house, leading up towards a bonus garden on the roof.  As could be expected, the house is filled with light from this spiraling courtyard.  The materials within are kept simple and clean, to better highlight the lushness of the foliage nearby – in a way like a gallery, the windows taking the place of frames, and the garden the painting.

I like this a lot.  I can imagine the design brief:  we want as much of our lot to be garden as possible, and we want it to be as visible from the house as possible.  Lifting the garden/ground plane up and wrapping the two together is a great solution, leading not only to the ample garden views, but some very interesting ceilings and room geometries.  As a bonus, the combination of the green roof, integrated with water collection ponds at the edges of the roof, plus all the natural light and the solar panels make for a very sustainable house.

Gorgeous greenery, fun rooms, lovely spaces, and a house that gives back to the environment.  That’s one very sweet combination.

MeMO house by BAM! Arquitectura

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Greenland is on Fire

August 18, 2017

There are wildfires.

On Greenland.

In the permafrost.

Which is supposed to be frozen.

(Hence the perma-)

This is not good folks.

 

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Architecture Monday

August 14, 2017

There’s something quite arresting about this house, in even this one photo.  The sun is certainly one reason why, gleaming off the smooth white polished and plastered walls (from locally sourced lime and salt) to bathe the interior in a sensuous glow… but for me it’s the way that smooth and polished plaster plays off the rough block construction that form the walls and columns, and even more so along the rough groin vaulting of the roof.  Against the strong uniform background the shadows and textures really pop, and the different patterns and surfaces make for a tableau of visual delights.  Even the stairs and floor are finely honed, adding their contrast between the silky and the coarse.

Even better is this is an adaptive reuse, made from a former lamp-oil mill built in the 17th century.  It does what adaptive reuse does best, letting the rugged form speak of its time and place while carrying it forward with a new use and new insertions.

Nicely done.  Ludovica + Roberto PalombaSerafini House by Palomba Serafini Associati

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Architecture Monday

May 22, 2017

I went and saw a lecture by one of the members of MAD Architects the other week.  Overall I found their work a bit hit or miss.  They seemed to operate at their best when working on more intimate scales and close to the ground.  Which is exactly what their new residential/mixed-use project in LA is.  They didn’t present it at the lecture, but I like it.

The view as you (would – it’s not yet built) approach tells a lot of the story, the podium of vines and succulents and greenery rising above a transparent facade of shops.  From the back, a path wends from the ground up to the top of the verdant podium, atop which perch a cluster of white villas.  Balconies and windows set into the greenery let you know that these houses have, of a fashion, a basement, set deep into the podium. It’s living space all the way up and down.

But it’s the courtyard, hidden at the centre of the project, where the full story unfolds.  There is a gaggle of housing types here, from townhouses to villas to studios to condos, and they all coalesce and interact around this courtyard.  There’s an intricate interplay of forms here that create little niches and pockets of space for balconies and porches.  Each unit has it’s unique identity while in dialogue with the greater whole.  It looks fun and playful.

This isn’t ready to break ground until October, so I won’t be checking it out on my upcoming trip to LA, but in future years, when it’s done, I’ll definitively swing on by.

8600 Wilshire, by MAD Architects