Sustainable & Offgrid

Sustainable & Offgrid

Sleek Forest Home Where The Forest Is Actually In The Home

Building a home often means flattening the plot of land set to be developed, effectively destroying what made the site interesting in the first place. However, when trying to design something truly beautiful we find that architecture can only be as good as the land it embraces.

Meet the Casa Corallo by Guatemalan based architecture firm Paz Arquitectura. Rather than uprooting the trees that natively inhabited the building site, they literally designed the home around the natural vegetation. Towering trees flank, loom, and even pierce through the home in a way that blends existing and new in elegant symbiosis.
casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-1 Two trees frame the entry of the mostly concrete home. The harsh material was used to provide ironic contrast between natural and man-made.casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-2 casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-6 The home spill down the natural slope of the hillside as a stone path melts together with low brush.casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-8 The interiors are highlighted by tree trunks that climb up through the floors. In many cases, the location of the trees dictated the spatial organization.
casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-9 casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-10 casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-12 casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-13 casa-corallo-modern-house-architecture-16

While the home is large and imposing, the choice to involve the trees so prominently in the design speaks to the sensitivity the architect had towards the land.

9 Most Amazing Green Roofs In The World

Green roofs have plenty to offer. Not only are they architecturally interesting, they have a drastic effect on reducing a building’s carbon footprint. Covering any roof in a thick layer of properly drained vegetation naturally insulates the interior, but also absorbs heat that would typically be reflected back into the sky, preventing all kinds of ecological problems on a large enough scale.

Architects have taken notice, and are beginning to embrace green roofs as a focal point of their designs. Here are 9 green roofs that will knock your socks off (which is good, because no one wants to walk on grass with socks on).

1 | 8 House | Bjark Ingles Group (BIG)

8 house_1 8 house_2

BIG is known for going…well…big! This green roof is no different. The symmetrical shed roofs provide the perfect opportunity for the dual cascading green carpets that meet at an exterior courtyard at the base of the structure. (source)

2 | CR Land Guanganmen Green Tech Showroom | Vector Architects

green tech_1 green tech_2

When a green roof isn’t enough, why no couple it with some green walls? Vector Architects have left no exterior sufrace naked, creating an extruded square shell that naturally protects the interiors from swings in temperature. (source)

3 | California Academy Of Sciences | Renzo Piano

Academy_1 Academy_2

If I didn’t use ‘undulating’ and ‘elegant’ in the same sentence to describe this one I’d have an angry gathering of former architecture professors burning me at the stake (not literally). Mr. Piano is a master of his craft, and this is one of the truly iconic contemporary buildings in the Western Hemisphere. (source)

4 | Marcel Sembat High School | archi5

high school_1 high school_2

High school has changed a lot since my day. This beautiful structure is highlighted by the (don’t say undulating…don’t say undulating) faceted curvilinear roof structure (nailed it). (source)

5 | Beijing Capital International Airport | Foster + Partners

beijing 2 beijing_1

In a stroke of perfect irony, visitors to the world’s most industrial, pollutant contributing city are greeted with one of the world’s most sprawling green roof. China is no stranger to environmental paradox, as they are a leader in sustainable development, yet continue to degrade the planet through their bustling industry. (source)

6 | School of Art, Media, and Design | CPG

Singapore_1 singapore_2

Two interlocking sloped green roofs wrap around a central public space in this project by Singapore based firm CPG. The roofs are accessilble to visitors, providing a lush carpet to make a picinic and take in a view of the surrounding Nanyang. (source)

7 | Villa Bio | Enric Ruiz-Geli

villa bio_1 villa bio_2

Spanish architect Enric Ruiz-Geli designed this home intented to reflect the landscape of the area. Even though it’s surrounded by homes that are less-than-camouflage, the green roof acts as a bridge between natural and man-made.(source)

8 | Chicago City Hall | City of Chicago

chicago_1 Chicago_2

In 2001, the City of Chicago tasked a team of architects, landscape architects and engineers to design and build a 38,800 square feet of green space. It is an initiative that makes great strides towards covering our cities in  well-manicured lawns. (source)

9 | Vancouver Convention Center | LMN + DA with MCM

vancouver_1 vancouver_2

A lush carpet of green velvet covers this convention center, which sits in a prestigious waterfront site in the heart of downtown Vancouver, BC. The architectural team created a man-made peninsula that mirrors the surrounding landscape. (source)

She Left A High Fashion Job In NYC To Build Incredible Bamboo Homes In Bali

There comes a time in most of our lives when you need to switch gears, or maybe even swap your entire car; change your job, your relationship, or your outlook. That’s what Elora Hardy did when she left her established career in the NY fashion scene to build bamboo houses in Indonesia.

Elora is a resident of Bali and spent the past five years working with bamboo construction, a sustainable resource that she believes could be used more readily. And when you see what she built, you might agree. Inspired by her father, who used bamboo in the campus buildings he helped create, she has long known the benefits of this highly available resource.

Bamboo doesn’t just look good. It grows incredibly fast, and has a strength-to-weight ratio that rivals steel. Like many woods, it does have one weakness, which comes in the form of damage from insects and moisture. Otherwise, when treated, it can serve as an integral component of building that last’s a lifetime. To learn more about these magnificent homes and Elora’s vision, check out her TED talk video, below.

More: Ibuku.com | Facebook

Humanitarian Pop-Up School Built With Up-Cycled Shipping Container

In a small rural province outside of Cape Town, South Africa sits this up-cycled shipping container; fitted and fashioned as part of a humanitarian design competition aimed at providing underprivileged farm children a safe place to learn, study and, of course, play. Woolworths, Safmarine and AfriSam are the three South African companies that sponsored the competition resulting in the Vissershok Container Classroom, which was won by 15 year old student Marshaarn Brink.

Marshaarn’s concept of an outdoor jungle gym space was then handed over to Tsai Design Studio and manifested in the recycled shipping container building. A curvilinear canopy structure is perched on top of the container, providing shaded exterior spaces for kids to recharge their high-velocity motors. The 12 meter (40 foot) container boasts instant shelter and a cool place for kids to focus and learn.

container school5The concept image shows the design intent of the shipping container classroom, which was fully realized in the final product.
container school2 The adjacent ‘play’ area has swings, a small play set, and a ton of interesting spaces for kids to expand their imaginations.container school3As seen in this diagram, the project is broken up into four distinct functions: play, learn, gather and grow. 
container school1 Inside the container is narrow and intimate, promoting collaboration among students who share the learning space.container school4 The form of the canopy structure is a nod to the rolling hills that surround the school.container school6

This Cabin Is Missing Something All Buildings Have, And It Rocks Because Of It

Who needs doors, right? That’s exactly what Nat Cheshire of Cheshire Architects said when he designed this pair of isolated structures off the coast of New Zealand. The cabins are completely open air and can be entered via a large square opening that steps you down into the main living area. The interiors are simple and clean, utilizing the warmth of native wood to tie the spaces to the adjacent landscape.

There is modesty and serenity in the way the buildings are anchored to the hillside. A quick glance would make them seem as if they were dark boulders jutting up and out of the grassy plains that carpet the surrounding countryside. They become a part of the iconic terrain rather than fight to visually overpower it. This harmony is echoed by the openness that results from having no doors. Protection might be limited, but the visceral experience is not.

1-doorless-cabin 2-doorless-cabin 3-doorless-cabin 4-doorless-cabin 5-doorless-cabin 6-doorless-cabin 7-doorless-cabin 8-doorless-cabin 9-doorless-cabin 10-doorless-cabin 11-doorless-cabin

Tiny EcoCapsule Packed With Sustainable Technology Aims To Reshape Offgrid Living

This egg-shaped capsule may look like something from outer space, but it’s being developed here on planet earth by Bratislava’s Nice Architects. The concept brings a micro shelter with an impressive array of sustainable technology that includes solar power, rainwater collection and filtration, and wind power. They plan to reveal a prototype in the next month, and make it available for sale later this year.

Inside you’ll find a cozy quarters of just 86 square feet. Designed to be easily transported, it can serve as a tiny house or office, and includes a toilet and shower, kitchenette, work and dining area, folding bed and storage both inside and out. Perhaps most exciting is the built-in technology it comes with, including a 28 square foot solar array and a silent 750 watt wind turbine.

Details are still fuzzy, though we expect to learn more once the firm makes its reveal on May 28 at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna.

Offgrid Cabin With Rustic Design & Modern Innovation

Sometimes it’s the little things that remind us of the beauties of nature, and the importance of place. The “Sky House” designed by Vancouver based Platform Architects and set in the dusty, rolling planes of Eastern Washington single-handily juggles the stark juxtaposition of earth and sky. This modest cabin built for two is firmly rooted in its relationship to the ground, yet sits atop a raised plain and emphasizes verticality in a way that pulls attention to the sky.

Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-17

The 840 square foot building is composed of pre-fabricated panels that made delivery of materials and on-site construction cost-efficient and minimally invasive. Stacking the interior spaces on two stories allowed the cabin to maintain a small footprint while utilizing the tall volume to maximize stack ventilation. In addition to being aesthetically beautiful, the house is also completely off the grid, a necessity given its seclusion.
Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-15

The-Sky-House-Small-Cabin-Jesse-Garlick-Vancouver-Exterior-Humble-Homes

The exterior is clad in raw steel panels. Over time, seasonal rains give the steel a reddish patina, matching the color of the surrounding bedrock and further cementing the structure in its setting.

Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-4Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-5Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-6Interiors are subdued and industrial, creating a cold, yet intimate space that offsets the endless views beyond.
Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-8Space-savers such as this operable bed platform combine uses to maximize functionality in such a tiny space. Because of this, nothing ever feels cramped or constricted.

Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-10Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-9

The-Sky-House-Small-Cabin-Jesse-Garlick-Vancouver-Suspended-Bed-Humble-HomesSky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-1The setting is as serene as it is majestic. Large south-facing openings take full advantage of sprawling views of the Cascade Mountains.

Sky-House-by-Jesse-Garlick-3The-Sky-House-Small-Cabin-Jesse-Garlick-Vancouver-Wood-Stove-Humble-Homes The-Sky-House-Small-Cabin-Jesse-Garlick-Vancouver-Kitchen-Humble-Homes

floor plan

Photos: Jesse Garlick, The Morrisons

Miracle “Algae Canopy” Makes The Oxygen Equivalent Of 10 Forest Acres In One Day

That thick green film that collects on rocks at the floor of a body of water may just be the solution to the excess CO2 in our atmosphere. In the past two decades researchers have been searching for ways to apply the positive atmospheric attributes of algae to design technology. EcoLogic Studio has done just that with the Urban Algae Canopy.

7-urban-algae-canopy-by-ecoLogic-Studio-Expo-Milano-20151

The structure is currently in the prototype stage of development and will be the first of its kind on display at the Expo Milano 2015. The canopies are completely reactive, and can produce and move energy and oxygen based on a number of inputs, including weather patterns and user movement. EcoLogic Studio claims that the canopies have the capability of producing the oxygen equivalent of four hectares of woodland area.

2-urban-algae-canopy-by-ecoLogic-Studio-Expo-Milano-2015

The ambitious project presents an innovative intersection between technology and biology, and fits in with the ever-growing movement of integrating natural processes into man-made structures.

These 10 Buildings Are The Greenest Of Them All

The American Institute of Architects has announced its 10 Best Green Buildings of 2015. The following structures make a point to champion sustainability and energy conservation without sacrificing cutting-edge design or functionality.

1. The Bullitt Center. Seattle, Washington

This office building, opened on earth day in 2013, is the largest certified Living Building in the United States. Designed by The Miller Hull Partnership, the Bullitt Center features 100% renewable energy, water, and waste-management. The entire shed roof canopy is composed of one large solar panel array.

The-Bullitt-Center-The-Miller-Hull-Partnership-21

2. The CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory. Hamilton, Ontario

This LEED Platinum certified laboratory contains 174,300 square feet of research, office and lab space focusing on innovations in material technology. Green features include sun shading on the south facade, green roofs, and renewable energy systems integrated into the building’s exterior shell.

3045264-inline-i-4-canmet-mtl6-peter-a-sellar-corridor-copy

3. Collaborative Life Sciences Building. Portland, Oregon.

ERA Architects and CO Architects collaborated on this LEED Platinum office and research building. The stark grey exterior gives the building a feeling of cleanliness and sterility, something that the integrated building systems exhibit themselves. Stormwater management, green roofs, atrium heat recovery, and low ventilation fume hoods are features that scream sustainability.

3045264-inline-best-green-budilings-extra

 

photo courtesy Jeremy Bitterman

4. E+ Townhouses. Boston, Massachusetts

The E+ Townhouses were built as prototypes for energy efficient living in affordable housing. The replicable model homes were the brain child of a collaboration between Interface Studio Architects (ISA) and Urbanica Design, and were built under Boston’s Energy Plus (E+) Green Building Program. In the prototype, versatility is shown in how the structures march down the slope of the natural terrain.

3045264-inline-i-3-01etownhousessam-oberterview-from-highland-street-copy

 

photo courtesy Sam Oberter

5. Hughes Warehouse Adaptive Reuse. San Antonio, Texas

Adaptive reuse projects have a prominent role in transitioning into the green era. Overland Partners face-lifted this early 1900’s warehouse was into contemporary studios with state of the art sustainability features. The project features flexible interior spaces and a public courtyard to promote user health and public engagement.

3045264-inline-i-5-hugheswarehousedrorbaldingercollaborationspace-copy

 

Photo courtesy Dror Baldinger

6. San Antonio Military Medical Center. San Antonio, Texas

“Doing it Bigger” in Texas appears to apply to sustainability as well! RTKL designed this massive complex that focuses on medical research and care for our nation’s military. A enveloping screen traces around the southern facade, protecting the interiors from heat gain while providing ample natural light.

3045264-inline-i-6-sammccharlesdavissmithinterior-copy

 

photo Charles Davis Smith

7.New Orleans BioInnovation Center. New Orleans, Louisiana

This 65,000 square foot biotech lab achieved a LEED Gold certification, making it the first of it’s kind in New Orleans. The building features a 3,000 square foot central courtyard is prominently visible from famed Canal Street through the building’s transparent, yet UV protected facade. Designed by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple.

3045264-inline-i-7-nobiccrockerentryway-6-copy

 

photo courtesy Will Crocker

8. Homes For Adults With Autism. Sonoma, California

LEDDY MAYTUM STACY Architects built four homes in a complex that champions sustainability and energy conservation. Each of the homes is fit with a powerful rooftop solar array, making good use of the persistent California sun. In addition to the homes, the complex boasts a community center, therapy pools, and even an urban garden.

3045264-inline-i-8-sw1-269-copy

 

photo courtesy Tim Griffith

9. Sustainable Housing Development. Oakland, California

Why build one sustainable building when you can construct an entire neighborhood? That’s exactly what David Baker Architects had in mind when they designed this complex that contains 60 affordable apartments, 77 attached townhouses and 20 additional apartments. The homes are well insulated and promote passive cooling techniques such as natural ventilation.

3045264-inline-i-2-tassafarongavillagebrianroseapartmentbuilding-copy

 

photo courtesy Brian Rose

10. University Center – The New School. New York, New York

Famous architecture firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) designed this university that was conceptualized on the platform of combined heat and power systems that were specifically designed for water management. It was enough to afford the building a LEED Gold certification. The facade seen here seamlessly shades glazed openings, providing UV protection and reducing energy consumption.

3045264-inline-i-9-univeristycenterthenewschooljamesewingcorridor07-copyphoto courtesy James Ewing

 

This Luxury Bunker Will Make Any Prepper/Survivalist Jealous

When most folks build a “bug-out” shelter for the approaching end-of-days scenario, they take a fairly straightforward approach. Dig a hole, bury a container, hide lots of water, and just enough supplies to survive. Not this guy. He wanted a more permanent residence, where his family and a few others could carry on existing in comfort. So he got in touch with Al’s Army Navy Store to arrange the purchase and installation of several 32′ x 10′ corrugated tubes that cost around $60k each.

The foundation for the underground bunker is shown prior to being buried underground.

luxury-bunker-04

An inconspicuous square opens to reveal the entrance to this underground domain.

 

luxury-bunker-05

When the zombies come or the sky begins to fall just climb down the ladder to gain entrance into this hidden home.

luxury-bunker-06

Welcome to your new home! You are now 20′ underground.

luxury-bunker-07Stacked bunk beds offer a place to catch some zz’s while the world falls apart overhead.

luxury-bunker-10

The kiddos don’t seem to mind the prospect of their new digs one bit. We’ll see how well they adapt once they learn there’s no exiting.

luxury-bunker-11

Demonstrating the under storage beneath the beds…

luxury-bunker-12

This news anchor takes a tour of the home, and exits through the secret escape hatch.

luxury-bunker-13

There’s a working kitchen, though we don’t see any stovetop. We’re thinking Sunday mornings without pancakes might not exist in the post-apocalyptic world…

luxury-bunker-14

A diner-style table provides a place to gather and share stories of zombie killings and fending off roaming vagrants.

luxury-bunker-15

A bunch of stinky teenagers living in tight quarters would be enough to drive most people back up the escape hatch to face reality. Luckily there’s a full bathroom, with a 2-in-1 combo washer to ensure your clothes stay fresh.

luxury-bunker-16I hope they have a stockpile of DVDs somewhere!

luxury-bunker-08

The master bedroom seems nice. Does she come with it?

luxury-bunker-09

luxury-bunker-02

These images show the layout of the secret bunker, accessible through the main home.

luxury-bunker-01

luxury-bunker-03

The Atlas Survival Shelter comes complete with bunk beds that have under-the-lid storage, an escape hatch for emergency attacks, mudrooms with a lockable laser cut interior door, countertops, a kitchen with a sink, low voltage electric lights, electric outlets and a toilet. If that doesn’t impress you much, you can also go for the optional flatscreen TV, shortwave radios, camera surveillance, 300-5,000 gallon water tanks, 100-500 gallon fuel storage tanks, DVD player, power-generating exercise bicycle, red oak cabinets and beds, solar panels, restroom facility or an electric toilet with tank. Sounds like you’ll have just about everything needed to stay happy, healthy, and safe!