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Near North Apartments by Helmut Jahn: Affordable, Mecha Small, Green + Modern

Night Near North Apartments

Not only is this place sustainable, but rooms are small, too.  With 96 units at an average size of 300 sf, Near North Apartments (NNA) is a pretty incredible habitat for people that deserve to live in a well-designed space.  NNA is the creation of renowned architect Helmut Jahn, who designed the single-occupant spaces for limited income, homeless, and disabled persons.  You’ll notice from the images that the building generates some power through roof-mounted wind turbines, or aeroturbines.  to be precise, the building shape was conceived to maximize wind to the aeroturbines.  They were invented at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and are now being marketed through Aerotecture International

The building also uses solar thermal collectors and a rainwater reclamation system.  The water system recycles shower water to flush toilets, apparently making it one of the few graywater systems in Chicago.  NNA is located at 1244 North Clybourn Avenue in Chicago and is owned by Mercy Housing Lakefront group.  The reason I’m blogging about this structure, in addition to being an example of small, sustainable living, is because it was listed on Metropolitan Home’s 2007 Design 100 list.  Congrats. 

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Eco-Boutique Coming Soon: Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Hotel Terra Rendering

Starting in December 2007, Hotel Terra is going to add itself to an exclusive list of green hotels operating in the United States.  The Terra Resort Group (TRG) is developing this hotel for the market niche that desires luxury + sustainability.  The Jackson Hole offering, which is going to be LEED certified, will be the first of 12-15 eco-boutique resort hotels that TRG plans to build by 2015.  Hotel Terra is going to have every luxury one would need in a resort stay: spa + fitness center, ‘Terra Living Room’, rooftop hot tub, two restaurants, and a snowboard/ski rental shop.  Also, guest rooms will have a Bose speaker setup, flat screens, and free wireless.

Green Features:
As far as the LEED features are concerned, Hotel Terra is going to be decked out pretty good:  100% recycled "Eco Shake" roof shingles; low-VOC carpets, sealants, paints, adhesives, etc.; personalized, energy-efficient heating and cooling zones; radiant heating on the bottom level to minimize direct heat loss and energy use; air quality and moisture filtering technology; Energy Star windows with low-E coating; water saving features such as dual-flush toilets, low-flow water fixtures, waterless urinals, and native landscaping; rainwater capture and runoff mitigation technology; chemical free cleaning and laundry products used in the hotel operations; hotel design to maximize internal exposure to natural lighting; 80% recycled content steel in the building structure; 50% construction waste reused or recycled; wind power used for 35% of electricity purchased by Hotel; and heavy reliance on renewable or recycled building materials such as bamboo, crushed glass, and seatbelts. 

I’ve blogged about two other green hotel matters, Starwood’s 1 Hotel and Gaia Napa Valley Hotel.  I have a feeling that Hotel Terra is going to have a leg up, assuming the absence of another market shock-type event like 9/11, on the other groups that are thinking about leveraging a serious green hotel brand.  I’m also thinking I may have to take a quick jaunt up to Jackson Hole next December, since I’m going to be in SLC starting in May.  Nice. 

Hotel Terra Lobby Area

S2: LOT-EK Slanting Container Building – 87 Lafayette Tower

Perceptual_contrast_slant
Solar_slant

I’m not sure whether this is already in the works or whether this is just a proposal, but I thought it was creative and interesting enough to talk about.  From the pictures above, you’ll notice a few things.  Its slanting shape.  The protruding containers.  The juxtaposition of ultra-modern and historical landmark neighbors.  The developer of the NYC Chinatown project, Mr. Woo of Young Woo & Associates, was interested in LOT-EK‘s design and considered the use of large, metal shipping containers in residential construction "fascinating" and "environmentally friendly."  You’ll also notice from the renderings that the developer plans to have an array of solar panels on the roof. 

To make it work, the slant begins on the third floor of the south end and the six floor of the north end.  What that does is create some unusable square footage for the occupants on the south face (depending on the acuteness of the angle), with a pretty cool view for the occupant on the north face.  Those on the north slant will have the benefit of peering over the ledge without having to worry about falling in.  Also, I’d be interested in seeing a sun model of this to see how the building design takes on natural lighting for the occupants.  All in all, it’s cool to see innovative building designs.  Someone needs to push the entrepreneurial envelope, right?  Via Lloyd of Treehugger

Extra Links:
+LOT-EK Container Housing Coming to New York [Treehugger]
+Leaning Tower of 87 Lafayette Explodes Our Brains [Curbed]
+Slanted Tower Studied Next to Landmark Firehouse [CityRealty]
+New Tower on Lafayette Street? [Wired-NY]

Interface Studio: Sustainable, Economic Sheridan Street Housing

Sheridan Street Housing Sheridan Street Housing

The Philadelphia Sustainability Awards Finalists have been chosen and one of the projects that was overlooked is the following 13-unit, affordable, environmentally-friendly housing project designed by Interface Studio, LLC.  One of the goals of this project was to design affordable homes with extremely low utility costs.  When money is tight, being hit by the utility man is tough on morale, that’s for sure.  The architect relied on modular design to lower costs of construction and challenge the bland look of typical affordable housing.  Engineers estimate that units will be 30-40% more efficient than your standard Energy Star building upon completion.  Pretty incredible, actually. 

Although Sheridan Street Housing was not selected for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards, it has received an AIA Philadelphia Silver Medal 2006 + residential architect Design Award 2007.  Sheridan Street was designed with unique materials such as slate-like fiber cement cladding panel and textured exterior grade plywood cladding panel.  Also, as you can tell from the images above, the design incorporates an airy third-floor terrace.  I’d pay big money for that.  I think another innovative aspect of the project is how the designer squeezed 13-units into an oddly shaped 40′ x 450′ piece of land.  Each building dances with another in interlocking L-shaped footprints to maximize the available land. 

Here are links to some of the other green projects considered for the Philadelphia Sustainability Awards: Bernice Elza Homes, Brewerytown Square, Jackie O’Neil Zero-Energy Prototype Homes (finalist), One Crescent Drive, Pembroke North Condominium, and The Reserve at Packer Park

Green Building Gets Easy, Green Hotels, Construction Materials, Wind Capacity Growing, + Low Impact is Popular (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Green Housing Gains Ground: Green Home Building Doesn’t Have to be Complicated, Experts Say; Simple Steps Can Make Houses More Environmentally Friendly
  2. U.S. Wind Energy Grew 20 % in 2006; Now Enough to Generate Power for 3M Average U.S. Homes
  3. Green Is the New Black: Becoming a Popular Approach to Lessen Environmental Impact
  4. Independent Hotels and Major Chains Are Building Green Properties and Renovating Existing Properties Green
  5. Construction Suppliers Go Green: New Products Promise to Cut Pollution, Costs

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Platinum Banner Bank Building

Banner Bank Building

Well actually, it’s more of a mid-rise, but 11 stories in Boise is about as skyscraper as it gets.  According to Gary Christensen, Christensen Corporation owner and Banner Bank Building developer, "we created a beautiful, high-performance building that’s good for the environment.  And it didn’t cost us any more to do it."  Specifically, the 195,000 sf, $25 million building was built to spec (ulation), so the ability to strike market-competitive lease deals was paramount on the project.  Also, on July 27, 2006, Banner Bank Building received the coveted LEED-CS Platinum certification, earning 49 out of a possible 62 points in the Core and Shell Development system.  In tangible savings, the building uses 65% less energy and 80% less water. 

The following is a list of some of the many green features built into the Banner Bank Building:  proximately situated near public transportation access; indoor bicycle storage and individual shower rooms; drought tolerant vegetation and automated irrigation system with motion sensors; state-of-the-art water reclamation system and conserving water fixtures, systems, and mechanical equipment; geothermal heat system and underfloor air distribution HVAC; 75%+ construction waste was separated, collected, and recycled; the building was constructed using locally sourced materials and 40%+ recycled content materials; zero- to low-VOC indoor finish materials; dimmable energy-efficient lighting; and a biodiesel fuel-powered backup generator. 

Extra Links:
+USGBC Project Profile LEED Facts
+HDR Project Summary Page
+Better Bricks Interview with Gary Christensen



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