Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

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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

February 4, 2019

Another building tonight by one of my favs, BIG Architects… but something decidedly different in scale, scope, and form from much of their other work.  It is a restaurant that becomes a village.

The starting point for the project is itself quite nifty, the adaptive reuse of a protected warehouse that once stored mines (explosives!) for the Royal Danish Army (that is also, humorously, across the river from and affords a great view of BIG’s power plant and ski slope (I am not making that up… this is an actual thing!)).  Due to the landmarked status of the building, the buildable area was very limited, only being allowed in the small areas where small extensions had been erected in times past.  The client was an avant-garde restaurant serving reinvention of Nordic cuisine.  Oh, and they wanted greenhouses to supply their kitchen.  Ready?  Go!

The result is quite glorious.  BIG settled on three main starting points:  filling the existing landmarked structure with the “back of house” functions, off of which hangs a kitchen that in turn off of which radiates a number of small pavilions to form a village of architectural forms.  Each one of these pavilions has its own character both inside and out, and each have their privileged views both outwards towards the nature preserve, water, or the city, while each also have a view to the central and open service kitchen.

There’s a lot of beauty to be found here in the meticulous detailing of all the seemingly disparate buildings.  Brick roofs!  Highly articulated ceilings with glowing skylights!  Striated stone walls!  Rough brick and sensual wood!  A feeling of old and new dancing together!  Cozy enclosure and expansive windows!  And to literally top it all off, an amazing glass roof that connects everything together.

And while it might be considered “dead simple”, the entry way is what entices me the most for the way it serenely presents itself, a lovely mass of steel and wood, seemingly-symmetrical-but-in-actuality nestled between two differently crafted pavilions.  The proportions, the combination of materials, the way the overhang invites and calls forward, it’s all so very well done.

Yeah, gotta add this one to my list of places to visit (even if I can’t get a reservation within).  There’s something magical in this assemblage, and I want to experience it in person.

NOMA 2.0 by BIG Architects

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 8, 2019

“If we come here and say, “Well, I didn’t intend to cause global warming on the way here,” and we say, “That’s not part of my plan,” then we realize it’s part of our de facto plan, because it’s the thing that’s happening because we have no other plan.”

— William McDonough

I love this quote for how well it ties back into the notion of systems and the path of least resistance.

When we don’t make a plan, the system makes one for us.  And the easiest is to just do what the system says to do.  Because to us it feels like that’s just how things are; we’re surrounded by it.  Its reality.  And so we punch our ticket and get swept along.

That system, though, may itself have never been planned, and rather came together by either accident, happenstance, or, often, by the messy collision of several other (perhaps/likely themselves unplanned) systems.  It’s system-ception – systems begetting systems begetting systems.

Everything we do has an outcome, a result.  And when our de facto plan spits out outcomes, whether personal or global, that aren’t as fulfilling a result as we’d like, we can be very accurate when we note that it was unintentional.  Because they’re the result of actions taken with literally no intention – just automatic engagement.  We’ve slipped into the path of least resistance.

Oops!

But our systems are just systems.  Unlike the properties of physics, they don’t have a force in reality.  They may have arrived by happenstance, but we can tweak them.  Replace them.  Transform them.  We needn’t get caught up in blame or shame or fault.  We can step up with intention, create from first principles, and be mindful of and design towards all the desired outcomes.

Until our de facto plans line up with our intended ones.

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Architecture Monday

October 22, 2018

I do so love rammed earth construction.  (So much so that it was one of my first Architecture Monday posts.)  Something about it exudes warmth for me, often coupled with a delightful tactile roughness along with the beauty from the colourful striations.

So that I love this office in Paraguay is no surprise.  Made with reused formwork, recycled glass, and encircling existing trees, what would be a box is otherwise twisted into a spiral to enclose the office, kitchenette, toilet, and, of course, the trees.  Cuts in both the walls and ceiling let in plenty of light to splay across those rough walls to create a lovely play of shadow that changes throughout the day.

Basic in form, this is a great example of how wonderful space can be created without breaking the bank.  All it takes are deft hands and minds, care, and a desire to build something beautiful.

Earth Box by Equipo de Arquitectura (who occupy this very office)

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Architecture Monday

August 27, 2018

Alright, this turned out very cool.  It’s a community sauna (yes, sauna!), designed and built very much from the community.  Sitting atop an existing pier structure in the rapidly changing and former industrial harbor of Gothenburg, the project brought together architects and local volunteers to create something new using as much recycled materials as possible sourced from its industrial surroundings.

Which turned out to be a very cool generator for form (and function).  Ya got what ya got, be it corrugated metal, bits of wood at certain lengths, tonnes of excess bottles, and who knows, those stairs might well have been a cast-off find as well.  With that you play, and play, and play some more, and before you know it, you’ve got something visually engaging and a series of spaces that are perfect for the sauna experience.

Check out the glow from those bottle windows, or the sinuous wood womb that is the sauna proper.  Or even the walkway leading to and from it all, looking like a natural dry riverbed from the odd bits of wood and random bits of stone tiling.

To go to this sauna is a trip, a playful one, that not only engages the community but truly comes from and can be owned by the community.  Perched out on the already interesting structure of the pier, it’s rough and tumble cladding speaks to the old while its sculptural nature enlivens all that is around it.  Best of all, that crazy form permeates to create a sweet experience within.  Good stuff.

The Svettekörka by Raumlabor.

 

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Architecture Monday

July 2, 2018

This is a level of playful niftiness I can totally get behind.  It’s also a great thought provoker on how we can design more smartly and use less space/resources/etc by designing with (still playful!) flexibility in mind.  All in a small garden house.

Four elegantly designed wood structures interlock on a wood deck; two of the structures are quite solid, two are greenhouse-like windows from floor to the top of the pointy roof.  We can do the math, but there’s five basic configurations that alternate the position of shade and light, solid and void, view and privacy, and even open versus enclosed.

There isn’t much more than that, but there needn’t be.  With things closed up, it’s a cozy cabin perfect for huddling close to the fireplace on a cool winter’s night.  Push the glazed ends out, and you’ve got room for a ginormous dinner party.  Flip it around, and your daily living space takes in all the beauty of spring or fall.  Sleep under the stars, or sleep curled up in the corner.  Come summer, the house splits and you’ve got patio living at its finest.  Or zebra it all.  Rearrange to respond to whatever flies your fancy that day.

Very cool.  And very nicely done too.  I really like the intricate and beautiful wood trusses that form the greenhouse portions, and there’s something equally elegant in the pairing of the wood siding and steel roof in the cabin portions.  The wood stove is designed to mesh well (and be safe!) in all configurations, even providing an outdoor cook spot when the centre is open.  And like the house itself, the lot is both expansive and nestled, with a pond on one side and a copse of trees on the other.

I like this aplenty.  The Garden House by Caspar Schols.

Also, bonus video!