The Paris based architectural firm influx studio has designed a concept building it calls the ’algae green loop’. The design is aimed at being an algae retrofitting of the marina city towers in Chicago, USA.The concept aims to use the natural CO2 absorbing characteristics of flora to help decarbonise urban environments. The buildings recognise the growing need for sustainable cities, something which many of us realise will only become more and more pertinent as the world continues to ceaselessly develop. By retro-fitting and using pre-existing structures not only would they be creating a new environmentally friendly building design, but they would also be working very realistically towards a zero footprint project.
At an exhibition held in Cairo, Karim Rashid presented his version of the future of ecological housing. Rashid calls it the Komb House – a super colorful showcase of the most cutting edge eco-technologies available. What is especially interesting is that he fuses traditional Islamic design principles with contemporary sustainable design. If nothing else, this Egyptian designer demonstrates that being eco-friendly can also be über cool!
BP’s new Rotterdam office seems to be an integral part of the landscape, almost swallowed up by the ground itself! The building is designed with a green roof that serves as both insulation and physical protection; this is because the office is located so close to a refinery it needs to be explosion proof. The interior of the office is simply stunning, making great use of natural materials such as wood and stone. One can only imagine that a company who has had such a PR disaster in recent times is trying to repair their image nudging it towards environmentalism and nature.
With rising energy cost, the oil crisis, and environmental concerns, the concept of green building practices are becoming popular, if not necessary, for home and business owners. Large commercial buildings consume a lot of energy which is costly to the owner and the environment.
Designing your new office space, or current office space, to be green is a beneficial way to help save money and do your part to reduce your carbon footprint. If you’re not a business owner yourself, you can help by making some green suggestions to your supervisor for your company to consider; mentioning the savings your company could accrue is always a good strategy to convince them.
Unless remodeling an existing structure, going green can start from the ground up. When building a new structure, use a permeable foundation instead of regular concrete so that water can return to the ground. After designing a layout that utilizes natural light and air sources, use natural or recycled materials if possible. Try to buy materials from local sources to cut down on transportation costs. Choose manufacturers who practice sustainable friendly ways of creating their products. Products like sustainably-harvested wood, reclaimed lumber, renewable plant material like bamboo, recycled metal, or stone are all great materials to consider in your design.
When it comes to heating and lighting your space, solar panels can be placed on a roof angled toward the sun to light or heat the building. Use energy efficient, double-paned windows to help avoid heat loss. Another wayto utilize natural light is by creating a skylight. When it comes to artificial light, utilize lights with motion detectors, or timed lights, as well as florescent bulbs. If you property allows for the installation, wind power and hydro power are other forms of energy that can reduce the environmental impact and cut energy costs.
When all the construction is complete, recycle or donate unused materials. When it comes to the interior design, use paints, carpets, and furniture that were made without volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals that can be found in materials like paints and glues and can emit harmful gasses and lower the air quality of your office. Paint is a better choice than wallpaper because it is less likely to contain VOC.
The hum of electronics is the sound of energy being eaten. With rising energy cost, this is detrimental to the budget of a business as well as to the environment. Technical equipment is a major energy drain; use computers, printers and any other office equipment with the Energy Star label. This ensures that the equipment is efficient with its energy use. Turn computers off at the end of the day or during periods of inactivity to save electricity and money.
Waste management and recycling are important components to an eco-friendly office. Paper waste is common. Consider recycling paper, printing on both sides of each sheet, using recycled paper or going paperless. Keep recycling bins on site to collect soda cans, paper waste, glass, and other recyclables. This goes for ink cartridges as well. Recycling saves trees, resources and reduces the amount of garbage in landfills.
Designing an eco-friendly office is a great investment for your business and for our environment. Even if you are not able to renovate much of the structure to be green, you can initiate office wide recycling programs to still practice being eco-friendly. These small steps can help in an effort to reduce your company’s overall carbon footprint.
[box] Courtesy of Douglas Elliman Realtors, Agents for New York City Real Estate.[/box]
Located in the Hartford, “Connecticut Science Center” is a LEED-certified green building designed by the world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli. The building covers an entire area of 144,000 square feet in total, and has a 15 stories tall atrium, and impressively, in the construction of all this 95% of the steel used is manufactured from recycled cars!
The green profile of the science center feature several more environmentally features; use of a fuel cell to as the power source, the rooftop garden, energy-saving glass and sensors for detecting the level of ambient light, just to name a few.
EDUN is an eco-design studio which recently moved into their New York City office space. The space makes extensive use of reclaimed and recycled materials, and was designed by the New York design firm Spacesmith. The walls are whitewashed and fashioned from reclaimed wood, giving the office both a warm and minimalistic feel. The aim behind using recycled and reclaimed materials for this fabulous New York Office was to expand upon their eco-centric brand.
According to the designers Spacesmith:
In 2010, Spacesmith was retained to design the lifestyle fashion brand’s new 8,600 square foot space to house offices; a showroom; design, production & marketing teams; and a sample room on the corner of Grand and Mercer Streets in Soho. The design intent was to keep the new construction to a minimum while allowing natural daylight to penetrate into the space and to embrace EDUN’s commitment to sustainability. It was fundamental to EDUN that Spacesmith design the space using reclaimed and salvaged materials and furnishings and to work with local vendors, craftsmen and craftswomen.
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Zecc architects has developed a fully functional residence from an old abandoned water tower. The water tower dates back to 1930s and is located in Soest, it was originally designed by H.F. Mertens in 1931. Zecc were tasked with converting the 24meter structure into a luxury dwelling while still preserving the characteristics from the past.
According to the architects, the transformation processes was a challenging one.
“Many problems had to be overcome; letting more daylight in and strengthening the relationship with the back courtyard by inserting a three-level high window frame; maintaining the interior’s industrial characteristics by working with materials like steel, concrete and glass; and in the tower, ensuring an effective, efficient layout for several small round rooms that lay one on top of the other, while preserving the tower’s spaciousness, to name a few.”
[ Via Environment Team]
A new IT campus in the Noida region of India has recently been designed by STL, a building which has the potential to be a true bastion of modern Indian architecture. STL is a Chicago based architectural firm and design studio and they called the new campus Spiretech.The inner space of the project serves not only as the civic heart of the complex, allowing for congregation and public functions, but also the green hub too. This is because the interior is lined with a lush garden that rises 20 stories up. The wall incorporates a variety of plants and flowers and looks absolutely stunning.
We think this is Indian architecture at it’s best and we can’t wait to see more such projects crop up over time!
The unique design of this bike makes it stand apart from the numerous folding bikes out there. Unlike the vast majority of folding bikes which are popular with city dwellers, this bike even posses the ability to collapse its wheels to minimize the space it takes up in the folded position. This is achieved by making the wheels out of six pieces and curved spokes. The spokes fold into the rim, making a compact unit when the bike is folded.
The cool thing is that when you open up the bike for use again the spokes automatically fold out and align. We think this is a great solution, allowing you to use a bike with full sized wheels that function properly and yet can be easily folded up for ease of storage when you aren’t using it!
The Tree Hotel is located in the small Village of Harads, which is roughly 60km away from the Arctic Circle. The owners sought to create a hotel which was a “well designed hotel which allows visitors to live in harmony with nature amongst the trees”.
Essentially, the Tree Hotel is a series of tree houses high atop the Boreal forest, offering visitors the best of both worlds – the ability to stay within impeccably designed accommodation that offers all creature comforts, while at the same time being totally immersed within the beauty of the forest. We especially love the one clad in mirrors, making one feel truly immersed in the splendours of nature!