Posts Tagged ‘Sustainability’

h1

WTF Weather

September 2, 2017

It hit 42~C here today (315~K).  42!  That’s crazy talk!

(…and the answer to life, the universe, and everything, which I never realized until now meant that the answer to LU&E was just super mind-melting hotness…)

h1

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.

 

h1

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

h1

Architecture Monday

August 7, 2017

I just find this one really nifty.  An auditorium/stadium/community centre made pretty much entirely out of bamboo and a thatched roof.  And it’s gorgeous.  Arches upon arches upon truss-like-arches, going back as far as the eye can see.  Openings in the roof plane like an unfolding lotus flower casts light inward, highlighting the evocative structure even as it provides illumination.  Walls, balconies, stage, also all made of bamboo, held together by woven ropes.

Lovely.  Locally sourced, naturally harvested, nothing but borax salt for treatment, full of natural light and ventilation, and a delight to experience both inside and out.  Great stuff.

Bamboo Sports Hall at the Panyaden International School by Chiangmai Life Construction

h1

Architecture Monday

July 3, 2017

Oh my, I love this!  That crazy amazing facade of windows upon windows upon windows is great in its own right, but its backstory is even sweeter:  they are all reclaimed.  Every single one of them had a previous life.  And it doesn’t stop with just the windows:  old farm equipment is reborn as furniture, bottles become light fixtures, bricks and wood and more are all given a second career.

This community building is literally built from bits that have histories from within the the community.  It’s a reuse gem.

Those windows look great on the outside, and they glow magnificently like a lantern at night, but wow is it even better inside.  The twin-layer of the irregular windows creates an absolutely marvelous space, a complex intricacy of lines and patterns and shapes (almost a Mondrian painting) that in turn creates a tableau of light and shadow, both on the windows themselves and projected onto the walls.   And that rising roofline, beneath which sits the shop and taproom, contrasts so nicely with the more compact brewery, exploding the senses upward and outward in elation.  It’s exhilarating.

Not that the brewery itself is any slouch, nicely proportioned and well refined detailing with a traditional Japanese bent.  A reclaimed brick pathway cuts crosswise through the building, pulling you through and linking the community BBQ and lawn outside back to the town.  Inside, the pathway is flanked on one side by the cluttered homeliness of the shop, and by the precision stainless steel brewery on the other.

There’s so much to love here.  A very resource-minded building that uses a simple palette of materials, many found and reclaimed, with careful craft to create delightful spaces within while connecting to the community without.  Great, great work.

Kamikatz Public House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP  (whom I just realized also did the Ribbon Chapel I featured earlier…)

 

h1

Architecture Monday

May 8, 2017

Shopping malls, on the whole, tend not to be paragons of design quality, and have propagated worldwide with little thought, period, let alone thought for the local culture, climate, or conditions.  Which means that often they don’t serve the needs of either the shoppers, the community, or even the shopkeepers.  They can increase cost to the store owners and decrease sales, rather than provide benefits to all who need to use it.

This project in Ethiopia does.

The above diagram, well, diagrams it all.  In elegant ways this new “mall” incorporates sustainable initiatives,  inviting spaces, and local charm to create a shopping mall born of a specific place.  It’s much more than the traditional strip ‘o shops with a fancy pediment.

There’s a whole bunch I like about this building, starting right from the get go with the expressive outer shell.  It’s concrete and it’s expressively pierced with a pattern adapted from the traditional local fabrics.  This means all at once it diffuses and controls the harsh local sun, it allows for passive natural ventilation, and it’s a thermal mass to help control the heat even further.  And as nice as it is on the outside, inside it is absolutely gorgeous, especially the amazing surprise that is the coloured bits of glass that sparkle like jewels.  Simple, clever, and good looking.

The building is also a shortcut between two adjacent busy streets, with a diagonal path carved along the ground floor that, in turn, becomes a diagonal atrium that expands upward and opens to the sky.  This acts as a chimney, letting hot air rise and the natural ventilation keep the building cool.  It’s also an internal street, letting the floors communicate with each other rather than be isolated pancakes.  The roof is also no isolated pastry*, it’s a large umbrella-filled patio.  That also happens to collect rainwater that is then stored to use for restrooms and irrigation.  Oh, and the umbrellas also serve double duty as photovoltaic panels.  Air, water, light, electricity… all thought of and integrated into this lovely box.

This is great stuff.  From the dramatic arched entryways to the spiraling road and shops that lead to the terraced roof, it elevates the experience of shopping while honouring its surroundings and thinking deeply about sustainability.  Lovely work.

Lideta Market by Vilalta Arquitectura

 

* Sorry for the tortured metaphor…

h1

Architecture Monday

April 3, 2017

Let’s go to Finland tonight for a refreshing jaunt in a sauna, shall we?  How about this delightful public sauna in Helsinki?  Perched on the edge of the water, it is at once a landform and a building, an angular and expressive form that mimics the rocks upon which it sits.  Even better, it engages the city just as much as it also protectively shelters the serene saunas within.

Check it out.  Really, check it all out.  You can step out and overlook the water, descend the stairs to enter the water, warm up at the dockside cafe, then climb on top of the building and get a view of the bay, the islands, and the city.  The carefully constructed wood slats (100% FSC Certified!) that form the face of the building seamlessly turn into stairs that lets anyone ascend upwards.  The roof is no simple canopy, it’s a playground.

Inside, the spaces are divine.  Those same wood slats slide and part to let light and views in (while, like blinds, keeping privacy).  From the covered porch areas to the change rooms to the saunas – including a traditional smoke sauna – the feel of the spaces is tranquil and comforting.

This image speaks it all.  There’s a beauty how the warm and regular wood, through its proportions and design, creates a space that invitingly cradles the seated body, while its horizontal lines draws the eyes outward towards the screen beyond, where the angular forms playfully contrast with the regularity of the wood grid, all given a visual exclamation point by the fire pit and rocks that stand basking in the glow from the generous window.

Marvelous.

And only one of many enchanted spaces within.  A great design that couples civic engagement and exterior excitement with amazing spaces within, all while building smartly using sustainable materials.  Excellent work.

The Löyly Saunas by Avanto Architects and Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio