This is a building I saw first on Archidose. Since the website project description is in Dutch, it’s hard to get specific information on this building, but I’ll share what I’ve been able to get translated. Urban Cactus is a project of the Rotterdam-based architectural office UCX Architects, founded by Ben Huygen + Jasper Jagers. It will have 98 residential units on 19 floors, and because the project abuts the harbor, the architects chose to give the building a more green, natural feel (rather than the urban feel common to neighboring architecture). I’m thinking that this layout provides an interesting mixture of sunlight + shade with the perfect amount of green space that is usually lacking in most vertical high-rise buildings.
This building is a little old hat for many of the readers here (it was an AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project in 2004), but I think there are some important aspects of the projects that can be remembered and applied to new green projects. This building is in the highest eschelon of LEED ratings, the platinum standard (LEED-NC, v2), and if you follow the links below, they’ve been generous enough to explain how they received all the points towards Platinum certification. You can even take a virtual tour of the building if you’re interested.
The building is the corporate headquarters for a biotechnology firm and houses 900 employees in 12 floors. Here are some of the many green features: high performance curtainwall glazing system with operable windows on all 12 floors; steam from local plant is used for heating + cooling; about 1/3 of the building uses ventilated double-facade that blocks summer solar and captures winter solar gains; the central atrium acts as a huge return air duct and light shaft; air moves up the atrium and out exhaust fans near the skylight; natural light is brought in from solar-tracking mirrors above the skylight and reflected deep throughout the building; the building saves water use comparably by 32% by using waterless urinals, dual flush toilets, automatic faucets, and low-flush fixtures; storm water supplements the cooling towers and irrigates the landscaped roof; partial electricity generation is provided by the building integrated photovoltaics (PV); nearly 90% of the wood is FSC-certified; and the building materials were chosen based on low emissions, recycled content, and/or local manufacturing. Not a bad list!
Really, I think this enormous achievement required the collective efforts of many different players with a similar vision. Architect and lead designer was Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner, executive architect – base building was House & Robertson Architects, tenant improvements architect was Next Phase Studios, landscape architect was Michael Van Valkenburgh Architects, and Turner Construction Company was the contractor.
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new prefab in town. But if you’ve been following the modern prefab movement, you’ll recognize this newest installment comes from an experienced architect: Michelle Kaufann Designs. MKD is behind the glidehouse and sunset breezehouse prefabs that have become the talk in modern + sustainable building circles. But these aren’t just prefab concepts or designs. Recently, MKD finished building the first U.S. factory dedicated to sustainable, modular custom homes (www.mkConstructs.com). This Washington (state) factory is wholly-owned by MKD and will serve California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.
The mkSolaire is an open, loft-like home designed for healthy, green living in the urban context. The architecturally designed roof and windows allow a perfect mixture of air and light to enter the home. Initial design to completion lead time is roughly 8-14 months, which varies depending on a variety of factors specific to your design and location. Some of the things that will be available include solar panel roofing, geothermal system, wind generator system, hybrid system, icynene insulation, bamboo or reclaimed wood flooring, recycled paper countertops, recycled glass countertops, on-demand water heaters, water-saving dual-flush toilets, non-toxic paints, and formaldehyde-free cabinetry, etc.
Because the mkSolaire is built from a modular system, there are endless possibilities as far as layouts and floorplans. The website has 5+ floorplan options, but it looks like those can be further customized. And if you’re really interested in taking the plunge, MKD has tried to take the sting out of prefab costing by explaining how it all works. This stuff isn’t cheap: factory costs ($150-175 square foot), transportation + installation ($3,000 – $8,000 per module), site costs (depends on location), and miscellaneous costs (permit fees, architectural and engineering fees, sales tax for some states, appliance costs, add-on costs, etc.). That said, homes do come with high-end Kohler and Hansgrohe fixtures, Anderson windows + doors, and slate-tile flooring.
I could go on and on, so feel free to visit their site and see if this looks like something you’re interested in. As far as modern + green custom architectural design is concerned, this is about as good an option as they come. Source via Linton + Yahoo Finance.
Every project is different and depending on the circumstances, one will have a bevy of options to choose from to move forward with a green plan. Some projects need to be torn down. Some projects can be renovated and greened. It depends on the economics, politics, and persuasions of all parties involved. In this case, San Antonio architects, Lake/Flato, decided to reuse this industrial compound’s existing footprint to renovate the place into a green + modern residence, otherwise known as the Dog Team Too Loft + Studio.
The house is well-positioned to receive natural light, so the energy requirements for lighting are minimal. The architects used fritted panes for windows, which is glass covered with tons of tiny ceramic dots that let in light and maintain a semblance of privacy. The glass is similar to using something like light-transmitting blinds because it allows lower-intensity light into the interior, but it also reduces the heat gain, which translates into savings for not having to use the A/C as much.
The original roof was lost due to a fire, so the saw-tooth roof visible in the above picture covers the entire residence. Some of the interior walls are plaster, and their high sand content keeps the indoor air cool. The architects also used various cheap, but creative, items to finish out the interior. They used galvanized stair treads ($3 each) and treated the floor with crankcase oil from a nearby lube shop. The interior dining room window was scrap from another project that the firm was doing, so it was put to perfect re-use. The Lake/Flato architects definitely prove that re-use can be the perfect option when deciding what to do with that run down place. Source via Metropolitan Home.