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Instant Housing + Designing for Disaster [Wired]

Clean Hub

WIRED has an excellent multimedia presentation on instant, transient, or disaster shelters.  Many of them are made of common or easily movable transportable objects: flat packs, containers, pallets, etc.  Above: Clean Hub by Shelter Architecture; Middle below: DH1 by Gregg Fleishman; Bottom: Pallet House by I-Beam Design.  Enjoy!

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Agro-Housing Becoming an Option for China

Agrohousing

In China, there’s a massive exodus from the rural to urban areas, but it’s controlled because the country doesn’t have enough housing for everyone that wants to live in a city.  At the same time, urbanization accentuates the air and soil pollution problems.  So, Knafo Klimor Architects proposed an agro-housing project that blends agriculture and high-rise housing in one structure.  This agro-housing project brings the food-supply directly to the building, and to the extent that residents can realize the benefits of urban farming, there is a decreased reliance on transportation for agricultural products (shopping and delivery to stores).  Plus, with the building’s integrated water capture systems, the project has the potential to reduce water consumption and runoff.  Residents could make money off the crops, too. 

This agro-housing project is going to be built in Wuhan, China.  As you can see from the renderings, the building has quite the elaborate labyrinth to control water, air, and heat.  Structurally, it will be made with SIPs and a majority of the materials will come from steel, aluminum, and terracotta — all materials that can be recycled at the end of the building’s life.  Via Dwell

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Sycamore House, LEED Platinum in Pacific Palisades

Sycamore House

Yesterday, Kovac Architects announced the groundbreaking of Sycamore House, a modern ridge top residence in the Pacific Palisades designed to achieve a Platinum level rating under the USGBC’s LEED for Homes Program.  The 3,400 sf home will serve as both a laboratory of learning in sustainable design and the home of Michael Kovac, principal with Kovac Architects.  With construction already in progress (you can view a webcam on their website), the home should be complete in the latter part of 2008. 

By all means, take some time to wander through the Sycamore House online web site, it’s quite informational.  This home will feature a 23-foot tall thermal wall to regulate air temperature and guide warm air to clerestory windows; a building integrated photovoltaic system and green roof to insulate the home and reduce the heat island effect; and a geothermal system for supplemental cooling.  On the inside, all the materials will be sustainably harvested, rapidly renewable, or previously recycled.  Plus, there will be the usual water-efficient fixtures, energy-saving LED lights and appliances, and low-VOC paints and varnishes.  Although still only in rendering stage, it will be exciting to see the Sycamore House become a reality.  Personally, I like the ability to congregate on the living roof and show off the solar panels.  That’s a nice touch. 

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Push Button Industrial Container House

Push Button House

Those of you that follow the container architecture scene know the name of Adam Kalkin.  Here, he's the designer of the Push Button House, which was exported by a company called Illy for display in Europe.  At the push of a button, the container opens like a flower, transforming a simple, rectangular box into a fully furnished, functional space.  Using hydraulic cylinders controlled by a computer inside the kitchen, the house container literally expands into a six-room apartment with a kitchen, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, living room and library in a mere 60 seconds.  The entire house was created from recycled materials, showcasing the best of Kalkin's industrial creativity.  More images below. 

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Beach Road Ecoquarter, a Sustainable Mixed-Use Scheme

Foster's Beach Road

Foster + Partners is at it again with another sweeping master plan in some exotic location — this time, it’s a 150,000 square meter city block in downtown Singapore.  The scheme incorporates commercial, residential, retail, and two high-end hotels, the total package of which could achieve the Green Mark Platinum Rating, which is the highest rating under Singapore’s main green building rating system.  The ground-level canopy is blanketed with a ribbon-like structure that forms a series of vertical louvres.  These filter the sun and provide a framework for the planting which will transform the towers into a series of vertically linked green spaces.  Interestingly, the buildings’ slanted facades are oriented, rather exactly calculated, to catch wind and direct it downwards to cool the canopy level.  It’s amazing to look at, and I bet it will be quite the gathering place. 

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Varia by 3form, a Diverse and Unique Product

Woven

Varia is produced by 3form, a great company to look into for many of your green interior design needs.  They produce a wide range of materials and for each of those materials, such as Varia, the application potential is practically endless.  If you can dream it, you can probably make it happen with one of their products.  Varia, or Ecoresin as it’s also called, is made of 40% post-industrial re-grind content and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified, making it a good option for LEED credits.  This is the most diverse product in terms of color, pattern, texture, and application options that I have found on the green market. 

There are, by the way, over 210 color, pattern, and texture options.  On top of that, there are additional finish options such as patent or patina.   Patterns include jacquard prints and hand-dyed capiz shells and glass suspended between layers of Ecoresin.  My favorite is the Organics collection with options that include bamboo patterns, leaves, grass and even rocks, some of which actually contain those materials with the layers.  Varia also comes in a variety of thicknesses which allows it to be even more versatile.  Possible uses for this material include backsplashes, countertops, wall coverings, flooring, cabinet doors, ceiling panels, door panels, and canopies.

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