Squak Mountain Stone, A Natural Beauty

Squak Mountain Stone

Squak Mountain Stone is an environmentally friendly slab and tile product company based in Washington State.  Their slabs are a unique offering on the green market because of their natural appearance, somewhat similar to limestone or soapstone.  Squak is being used in a wide variety of applications including countertops, tabletops, tiling, hearths, signs, and stairways.  It is made of 49% post-industrial materials, which include crushed glass, type f coal-fly ash, and 2.5 % post-consumer mixed waste paper, in addition to low carbon cement and iron oxide pigments, making it a great option for LEED credits.

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San Francisco's Glassy Green 555 Mission Street (S2)

Night Rendering Rendering

Floor-to-ceiling glass panels, accented with glass and metal fins … this is 555 Mission Street.  The base of the building will have a public plaza with a so called "garden of light"– an organic, living space with fiber-optic light wands.  The 33-floor building is will be state-of-the-art and with all those windows, it’ll need to filter the natural light without burning up the interior in the summer.  Slated for completion in the third quarter of 2008, the building will have dual-panel, insulated glazing windows with low-e coating.  In total, 555 Mission Street will have approximately 550,000 rentable square feet and what seems to be incredible views of the city and the bay — I really like this first image below.  Word is, the building will be LEED certified, although I haven’t been able to verify that or the level of planned certification.  See updates below. 

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Green Your Business, Lifecycle of a Green Product, Energy-Efficient Dwellings, + James Lovelock (WIR)

Week in Review

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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Second-Look, Recycled Vinyl Wallcoverings

Secondlook

Watch out!  Second-Look is a new product that has the potential to make a splash.  I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it, but Buildings Magazine gave it a Grand Prize Product Innovation Award in the Environmental Solutions category.  Second-look invested 2 years in R&D to create the first recycling program for vinyl wallcoverings.  The company wants your used vinyl wallcoverings and they’ll take old product from any manufacturer.  Using old vinyl, they’ve developed three new collections of wallcoverings – Versa, Cirqa, and Plexus – all made of 20-percent recycled vinyl content, including 10-percent post-consumer recycled content.  The low-VOC wallcovering produces fewer emissions than paint, uses water-based inks, incorporates a mildew-inhibiting agent, and can be micro-vented for additional breathability.  Plus, Second-Look can be used for LEED points.  Anyone have thoughts?

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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