If your a treehugging hemp wearing greeny, you should be cave shopping right now. Forget about living in the typical stick built boxes, all the drones call home. The greenest houses on the planet are caves, ask any bat. No insulation needed, earth quake proof, extremely low energy bills, and oh so quite. But, no one but a nut wants to actually live in a cave, right. I mean you would have to be just a little off, like one of those people who actually think doing their business in a bucket is progressive. For us Monkies, we love the bonus sides of cave living and hate the down sides. The no style, no light, drippy ceilings, no right angles and bat guano. But if you could combine the cave DNA with modern architecture, we monkies would be all over it. That is exactly what the architecture firm Productora has done with their House in Chihuahua.
By Productora: The House in Chihuahua is part of a golf club community in the desert like northern region of Mexico. The dwelling was designed to accommodate the special climatic circumstances of the area, since the differences between day time and night time temperatures can vary by as much as twenty degrees. To balance these extreme temperature differences, we partially buried the house into the mountain slope to take advantage of the soil’s thermal mass.
Pre-fab homes have been around for a while now, but here’s one worth watching on video. This design is called Mini Home, and as you can see, it’s well named. The design is basically a well-insulated trailer, with some smart design choices and green building materials. This trailer isn’t too different from a regular trailer you might find on a Texas lot, except for the materials and tasteful design. The one big difference is the cost. This trailer is coming in at $400 plus a square foot, which is amazingly high, even for a specialty trailer.
Here in L.A. the average house is coming in at $200 to $250 per square foot on the West Side, and the luxury ones are coming in at $350 to $500, depending on land cost and finishes. So, $400 for a small box is a lot. But with the economics aside, the idea is great and the intention is amazing. So, we hope the price can drop and the design expanded. We would love to see more sections working together to make up a whole house. Maybe two or three modules.
When I was in my early twenties, I live in a small village in England called Fairford. Life in the English country side was a magical experience for me. You see, I grew up in the dry boring suburbs of San Antonio Texas. One generic stick box house after the next. My life completely revolving around the maze of hot asphalt roads and shopping malls, which make up the typical American town. England was the ancient place of tiny roads, forest, small village centers and filled with people who actually walked place to place. I think my time in England shaped my love and desire to be a gardener. You see England is a country of gardeners. They have a very strong proud tradition of gardening and nothing screams that more, than the completely amazing Eden Project.
The Eden Project, in Cornwall England, is a celebration of growing things. Here is the official spill: The Eden Project is an unforgettable experience in a breathtaking location; a global garden; a place of beauty and wonder. Our world famous architecture and art draws inspiration from nature, our educational work is about creating a positive future in a world that is going to go through radical change, and we try to ensure everyone who visits Eden leaves knowing something more about their connection to the world. That’s the big stuff…Eden is also about simple pleasures; enjoying tasty food, rediscovering what puts the great into the great outdoors, imaginative play for children, taking time to stop and smell the flowers, having a good time.
I have been following this architecture firm since they designed a house out of containers, something I would like to do. So, I check out their site pretty often, and today they have rewarded me with a new design fit for the Monkies. Yes, a ultra modern floating eco city they are calling Gyre Seascraper. Since I was a kid, I thought it would be ultra cool to be able to live below the surface of the ocean. It would be like living in the International Space Station. A completely foreign world.
Gyre creates a new class of Eco-tourism by bringing scientists and vacationers together to understand what is the least known environment on our planet, the ocean. As much as a skyscraper is an economical method of reducing humankind’s footprint on land, Gyre goes a step further by juxtaposing that footprint to the ocean, and is perhaps its greenest feature. Its unique design permits the simultaneous application of wind, solar, and tidal energy generation technologies thereby making it truly ‘off-grid’. Peaking at a depth of 400m, its ample space provides for a comfortable living and working environment, including space for shops, restaurants, gardens, and recreation.
The center piece of the design features a double-hulled vortex with both hulls being clad in reinforced glass, where each of the floor levels are essentially a layering of concentric rings ranging in size from 30,000 sq.m. down to 600 sq.m. Inclinators riding along the inner structural ribs provide for vertical/diagonal transportation between floors. Total floor area of the entire structure (levels, radial arms, barriers) is approximately 212,000 sq.m. (or roughly 40 football fields). The Gyre’s radial arms feature a pedestrian upper level and a transit system on the lower level to access to the outer protective barriers. The barriers create an inner harbor and port of approximately 1.25 km in diameter, accommodating the needs of even the world’s largest ships.
Rob Paulus is an architect who concentrates on projects with a green emphasis. His concepts focus on the way infill, renovations and adaptive reuse can be complimented by being approached with a green perspective.
To that end, enter the 007 House, designed by Paulus and set in the Arizona desert. All rainwater is captured on the roof via a steel pipe gutter and spills into a 1000-gallon storage tank. This water is then used for courtyard planting.
(via CubeMe.com) “This home went vertical and down below grade to maximize the use of the site. Two insulated masonry walls define the enclosure east and west with floor to ceiling glass at the north and south facing rooms. A large canopy cantilevers out to the south to shade the interior from the harsh desert sun, while establishing an edge for the southern courtyard.”
When we think of modern green architecture, its normal for most of us urban monkies to dream up a very cleanly designed glass box. We think of the glass as a way to connect with the environment around us, while maintaining that safe distance, which city living grinds into us. The Chen House embraces the modern box, but flatly rejected the idea of barriers. The Firm Architects C-Laboratory, designed the Chen House to embrace the country side, building it on an old Japanese cherry-farm in North-Taiwan.
By Catherine Slessor The Architectural Review: Conceived as a meditation on the decline of Finnish rural life, the project – punningly entitled Land(e)scape – involved hoisting a trio of redundant timber barns on to spindly stilts to make them look as though they were walking out of the countryside and migreating to the city. In a final nihilistic flourish, the structures were set on fire and transformed into blazing memorials to the loss of a pastoral idyll.
Casagrande is now in partnership with Taiwanese architect Frank Chen, and together they recently completed a house in the north of Taiwan, near the Datun Mountains. Set on farmland next to a river and surrounded by tree-covered hills, the remote, rural site has echoes of the walking barns project. Yet for all its bucolic charm, the environment can be harsh, with intense heat in summer and frequent typhoon winds, componded by periodic flooding from the river and seismic activity.
What do you get when you mix photovoltaic panles and LED bulbs into the side of your building? A zero dirty energy giant movie screen. This isn’t some concept or science fiction movie idea, its real and has already been designed and built in China. The company Greenpix a a group of architects and designers, have created this screen in Beijing China.
The Zero Energy Media Wall – is a groundbreaking project applying sustainable and digital media technology to the curtain wall of Xicui entertainment complex in Beijing, near the site of the 2008 Olympics. Featuring the largest color LED display worldwide and the first photovoltaic system integrated into a glass curtain wall in China, the building performs as a self-sufficient organic system, harvesting solar energy by day and using it to illuminate the screen after dark, mirroring a day’s climatic cycle.The project was designed and implemented by Simone Giostra & Partners, a New York-based office with a solid reputation for its innovative curtain walls in Europe and the US, with lighting design and façade engineering by Arup in London and Beijing.
“The Architects” Radio Interview | Click to start playing
We recently stumbled across a very interesting Australian Green Architect Andrew Maynard. His interest is rethinking modern green designs with a look to the future.
Recently named in Wallpaper Magazine’s Architects Directory, an “annual guide to the world’s most innovative practices”, Andrew Maynard’s design practice is quickly becoming recognised as an emerging force on the architectural scene. Since Andrew Maynard Archtects was established in late 2002 it has been recognized internationally in media, awards and exhibitions for its unique body of built work and its experimental conceptual design polemics.
A beautiful idea, a long glassed roof building sunken into the earth. A low impact way to super insulate a building while still allowing in views of the surrounding nature and bathing your structure with daylight. The architectural offices of Selgas Cano a spanish architecture firm, designed their office as a long narrow building, half buried into the earth. I couldn’t find any details online about the building, so I will have to contact them directly in the next few weeks, but for now, here are some beautiful images of the building to inspire you to think outside the box.
We also, liked the simple use of color to define area’s within the office. Checkout the yellow floors which split the two sides and the black staircase leading to the front door.
This 3,900 square foot house in Santa Monica tests the hypothesis that it is not necessary to sacrifice beauty for sustainability – that one can have both. Furthermore, it suggests that attentiveness to sustainability can inspire and elicit beauty where it might not be otherwise.
The house incorporates a number of passive and active green strategies, as well as a number of recycled and sustainably harvested materials. The structure’s openness and siting not only provide the sense of continuous space and connection to the garden that the client desired, but also allow sunlight and ocean breezes to warm and cool the house naturally. The koi pond cools the air before it enters the house; the concrete floor absorbs the sun’s heat, saving it to be released at night. Motorized skylights over the stair atrium draw warm air out of the house and also provide museum-quality lighting for the client’s art collection. A diagonal void carved through the house not only allows southern light to penetrate deep into the northern areas of the house, but also intensifies the abstract spatial qualities that are at the heart of the house’s aesthetic.
So, what to do with all those extra shipping containers flowing in from China? Well, if you work out the architecture firm MMW in Norway you use them a green building material. The firm seems to really specialize in re-using this waste product generated by the shipping industry. I know what your thinking, how is this a waste product? Well, you see, there is no value in shipping empty containers all the way back to China. So, basically these ultra tough steel containers are really nothing more that giant size cardboard boxes and we all know what we do with those.
So, using these industrial cardboard boxes, MMW created a new Gallery building for Alexandra Dyvi. She wanted a semi temporary gallery.
To make an open feelingMMW has let a huge amount of fresh crispy northern light through the building by placing circular windows opposite each others. These shapes bring on the history from way back where at this site many of the most beautiful ships from Oslo where built at this site. Also the traditional industry ladders/stairs gives an impression of linking it all together with the shipbuilding industry from last century. Huge safety glasses at the end of each container give wanted supply with water and weather, sun and sky. The start of it all came with 10 ordinary containers, insulated on the inside, and covered with sheets of plywood and sheetrock (gwb) all painted like a classical with cube.
Here is another custom home design by the Australian Architecture firm, URZ-SANBY Architects. This one is in the Kangaroo Valley and follows the same in door out door concept of their other designs. The entire house opens up to become part of the environment.
The brief was to build a simple weekend retreat that would respond to the local climate, the immediate site and the surrounding landscape. The site is 65 hectares, located in Kangaroo Valley, and is surrounded by steep sandstone escarpments to the south and views down the valley to the North. There were no existing services on the site.
The decision to make the house entirely self-sufficient, was made early in the project as a means of controlling the budget. This then drove the design process, toward a well considered environmental response in terms of form, structure and materials and led to a new exploration of sustainable systems and technologies for our practice.