Sustainable & Offgrid

Home Architecture Sustainable & Offgrid

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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

 

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

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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.

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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.

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Demonstrating the under storage beneath the beds…

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

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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…

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

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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!

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

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

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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!

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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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.

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 Family Built A 100% Sustainable Floating Offgrid Eco-Fortress

Growing up, most of us had a friend whose parents owned an impressive house, but I guarantee none of us had a friend with a place like this. Owned by Catherine King and Wayne Adams, this eco-fortress of sorts can be found floating off the coastal inlet of Cypress Bay in British Columbia.

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They call it “Freedom Cove” and the colorful offgrid home consists of a series of 12 structures. They share the place with their two children, Eleanor and Alistair, and seem to have a great system in place that has allowed them to live a self-sustainable existence for 20+ years.

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There’s a greenhouse and garden system that provides food year-round. At one point they even had a hen-house, but were discouraged by the frequent attacks by hungry sea creatures. The family takes advantage of the heavy rain during the winter to collect water, and uses a waterfall nearby in the summer. Electricity comes courtesy solar panels and photovoltaic generators.

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A wooden walkway connects each of the unique structures and the bright pinks and blues accenting the entire layout do more than hint at the couple’s artistic skills.

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The couple earns extra income from their art – Catherine is a painter, writer, and wood carver, and Wayne sells carvings and candles in nearby gift shops.

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Below you can see the workshop where Wayne does most of his carving, along with some close-ups of the finished candles.

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If you’re in the area and want to check this place out, your in luck because curious visitors can take a boat tours of Freedom Cove or a sea kayak tour to get a personal tour.. In fact, they encourage visitors to spend time on the fortress.

This certainly has to be one of the most impressive offgrid homes we’ve seen. While the lifestyle isn’t for everyone, those looking for inspiration to escape mainstream society and forge a life of their own can find inspiration in their story.

Thanks to http://www.vanguarddivers.com/

This Unique “Ultra Green” Building Is Covered In A Green-Wall Exoskeleton

Brazilian architecture firm Triptyque have designed an office building in Sao Paolo that not only collects rain water, but utilizes a sophisticated filtration and delivery system to irrigate naturally insulating green walls. A maze-like network of water pipes snake up and down the building’s facades, fitted with misters that provide the living walls with freshly recycled rain water.

The project is an ecological experiment aimed at challenging how society deals with water – how it can be collected, recycled, and redistributed with little need for waste or run-off. In addition to the green wall system, a series of planted roofs further mitigate the structures environmental footprint. When the misting nozzles are on full tilt, the building is enveloped in what appears to be a stationary cloud, reinforcing the issue of water conservation in both function and aesthetic.

In 2010, the unique green features won this office building the ‘Built Environment’ award from the Zumtobel Group.

15 Outlandish Homes Pushing The Limits Of Creativity

The world is a strange and beautiful place. Each of these 15 homes proves that we are not limited by conventional thought when it comes to designing and creating something truly unique. Using what we can find, what we know, and what we think we can learn, the world can become just a little bit stranger, and a lot more beautiful.

15A house on a rock in a lake in the fog in a forest.

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It’s Alive! This Home Uses Compost For Climate Control

A collection of crafty and clever students at Japan’s Waseda University have developed a way to utilize the natural fermentation process of straw to heat and cool your home. On the interior, pre-fabricated acrylic boxes are stuffed full of common straw. The straw is left to ferment and compost, naturally giving off a staggering amount of heat – up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit!

The design of the home is fairly simple – meant to be more of a shell for experimentation than a display of architectural ingenuity. It serves its purpose well enough to showcase this nontraditional building technology, and the exterior is also clad in straw, showcasing its use as an effective weather barrier.

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The fermentation is a result of a low-odor composting technique called “bokashi” (meaning “fermented organic matter”). The process happens over a four week period, so the real downside to this type of system would be the maintenance. If anything, the project is an example of what is possible using natural processes in building tech.fermenting straw2 The acrylic boxes are placed strategically throughout the interior so as to provide each space with the appropriate amount of heat.fermenting straw3 In the summer, the dormant straw that has already been composed acts as a natural insulator – keeping the home passively cool. They will even release moisture, which acts as a natural cooling mechanism. fermenting straw4 This floor plan shows where the boxes are hung on the interior walls.fermenting straw5

Designed by Masaki Ogasawara, Keisuke Tsukada and Erika Mikami, the students hope the prototype ushers in new and interesting investigations into natural building technologies. Their “Recipe to Live” house is certainly an example of the possibilities as we move towards a move eco-conscious society.

Images by Waseda University.

This Hemp Winery Is About As “Green” As It Gets

Château Maris considers itself to be the ‘greenest’ winery in all of France. Not only is it sustainable and biodynamic, but its cellar walls are made almost entirely of organic lime and compressed hemp blocks that naturally insulate and breath, allowing the winery to stay at the optimal temperature year round without the use of active heating and cooling systems.

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I’ll try and stay far away from any poor attempts at weed puns (as hard as that may be) so as not to detract from the truly remarkable application of everyone’s favorite herb. Of coure, hemp comes from the fibrous stems and branches of the marijuana plant and not the female “cannabis sativa” we know from recreational use. Hemp has many practical applications, none more impressing then using it to create this biodynamic wall system.

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After considering other organic wall materials such as stone and straw bail, hemp was picked because it is inexpensive and lightweight, making shipping and building with much easier. The Château is currently in the process of a LEED Platinum certification, and boasts other sustainable features such as using recycled bottles and paper for labeling, and donating a percentage of sales to eco-friendly organizations. Find more about Château Maris here.