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The Vertical Zoo: A wild greenery-wrapped tower that provides refuge for animalia

We’ve seen tons of vertical farms, but what about vertical zoos? Why not take the same theories and technologies used to grow organic produce and raise animals and apply them to build more compact, more sustainable zoos? Proposed by Mexico City-based BuBa Arquitectos, the Vertical Zoo is a balanced and sustainable space where people and animals can coexist in harmony. Wrapped in lush vegetation, the star-shaped building makes use of green building strategies to reduce heat gain, encourage natural ventilation and soak up rainwater. Totally self-sufficient, the tower’s aim is to be a sustainable refuge for all animal kingdom species.

Vertical Zoo, BuBa Arquitectos, vertical garden, eco zoo, self-sufficient, zoo

The zoo is built from a six armed star-shaped level designed to maximize space, views and circulation. It is based on a nucleus or a tree trunk from which emerges six branches, each 20 sq meters in size which all serve different programmatic needs. These program blocks provide space for zoo activities, visitor needs, administration, circulation and ventilation, and spaces for sustainability. Modular by design, more star-shaped levels can be added on top as needed or as funding becomes available for new facilities.

Lush foliage surrounds the tower and protects its inhabitants from the elements, creating an overall picture of harmony. Totally self-sufficient, the vertical zoo is capable of providing its own water and energy through rainwater collection and solar power. Arrangement of the star-shaped levels encourages natural ventilation and improves views. Multiple towers can be built together to create a larger interconnected complex.

The Vertical Zoo is designed to be as much about the animals as it is about the people who visit and encourages meeting and cohabitation as a way to promote equanimity between the species. Although zoos are not always the most humane place for animals, there may come a time when we need to protect species from total extinction. This vertical zoo attempts to find a sustainable solution.

 

A House That’s Sustainable From the Inside Out

The Passive House Che has recently been built in a forest in Romania and is currently still being evaluated to receive the Passive House standard certification. As such, it is of course equipped with all sorts of sustainable features, which also include an indoor lawn. It was designed by the local firm Tecto Architectura.

The main aim of the project was to create a sustainable, two-story home which would blend into its forest surroundings. The house is bigger than one has come to expect from a sustainable building, and measures 2,700 square feet (250 square meters). The living quarters are built around a central courtyard, which is where the interior lawn is located. Over this lawn hangs an aptly named “net-lounge”, which is basically a large net hammock suspended over the courtyard where the inhabitants can relax. The home was also fitted with large floor to ceiling windows and doors which let in plenty of natural daylight and offer great ventilation.

Source: Jetson Green


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Bamboo, coconut leaf home heralds new cheap housing

Long An – At a cost of less than $4 000, Vo Van Duong’s bamboo and coconut leaf house could herald a new wave of cheap, sustainable housing.

The natural materials on its surface belie the hi-tech internal structure of the farmer’s new home, which uses steel struts and wall panels as a defence against the elements in this natural disaster-prone region.

“The new house is safer, I’m not afraid that it will collapse,” the 48-year-old papaya farmer told AFP inside the house he moved into nine months ago.

Duong is testing a prototype by an award-winning Vietnamese architecture firm looking for low-cost housing solutions for communities vulnerable to climate change.

His S-House 2 was free, but if rolled-out on a wider scale could be sold for less than $4 000.

“There was water coming down from the roof in my old house. Sometimes, when there was a strong wind, I was so afraid the house wouldn’t survive,” Duong said, adding his new home was the envy of his neighbours.

The eco-home is the brainchild of Vo Trong Nghia, who joins other architects around the world in trying to fill a demand for cheap and easy to assemble housing – from flat-pack refugee shelters to shipping-container homes for tsunami victims.

He says all architects have a duty to help the poor.

“What about those with low income, billions of them, how can they live?” Nghia told AFP. “They have the right to live in comfortable, functional places.”

But he wants to go further, creating a home residents can take pride in.

“I don’t want people to be looking at it as ‘cheap houses’ but as resort-quality accommodation close to nature, so [residents] can live a life of the highest quality.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.58.03 AMFlat-pack homes

The design is still being refined by his team, who are eventually aiming to create a flat-pack home. The newest version, S-House 3, can be built by five people in three hours.

“Our goal for S-house is for the owner to construct it by themselves,” said Kosuke Nishijima, a partner at the firm.

The latest design also allows for multiple houses to be tacked together, a function that could allow, for example, the construction of a storm-proof school easily transportable to remote areas or a larger family home.

Nghia has already been approached by NGOs in disaster-prone Bangladesh and the Philippines, but is not yet ready to supply the house commercially.

From saline-intrusion and flooding in the Mekong Delta to typhoons along the central coast, Vietnam is also home to communities living in high risk areas.

For decades, Vietnamese families have adapted their houses themselves, many building ad hoc mezzanines to avoid flooding.

In more recent years organisations including the Red Cross and Women’s Unions, as well as local authorities, have been trying to help people develop more resilient housing.

But in order to ensure such projects are successful, “private architects’ support is critical”, according to Boram Kim, an urban specialist with UN-Habitat in Vietnam.

“State and local government authorities are well aware that such houses are needed for the poor, but have little technical knowledge for realising their ideas,” she told AFP.

“Architects have technical knowledge for reducing the housing construction cost while making it storm proof,” she said, cautioning that it was important for designers to listen to the needs of local communities.

Architect for the poor

Nghia’s firm found that one of the problems facing rural Vietnamese living in traditional bamboo shacks or stilted river-bank dwellings is the costly upkeep they require to withstand increasingly extreme weather.

Although the S-House 2’s outer casing of coconut leaf may need replacing every four years, the structure itself should require no expensive maintenance, said engineer Lien Phuoc Huy Phuong.

“It can last a long time, the structure is sound,” he told AFP during a tour of the small building.

Despite its solid exterior, the house is spacious and airy inside, with large windows and doors to bring residents closer to nature.

“We tried to design this house with the best ventilation system, with spaces by the roof and windows for better air flow,” Phuong said, pointing out strategic gaps that should reduce the need for electric fans.

Architect Nghia, who used bamboo as a key element in Vietnam’s country pavilion for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, has long sought to incorporate natural and local materials into his work.

One of his first projects in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City was an ecologically-conscious take on a traditional Vietnamese tube home, known as Stacking Green house.

Built in 2011 for around $150 000, the building is made of a series of concrete slabs and gaps filled with plants to provide privacy while still allowing plenty of air and light.

Nghia is in strong demand for high-end projects from hotels to private houses, but said the low-cost S-House is his personal obsession.

“I want to live in S-House. If my family will agree,” he said.

Source: News 24


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2015 Green Building Trends

The US Green Building Council’s Colorado chapter predicts the following green building trends for 2015:

Green construction powers industry: the Centennial State will continue to grow as a center of green construction expertise and ownership. “As a panel of developers and owners told us at our Commercial Real Estate Forum, green buildings are becoming a must-have for owners,” said Sharon Alton, executive director, USGBC Colorado.

Commercial real estate brings together the public and private sectors: Denver’s Union Station opened its doors in summer 2014, forming the core of a major urban revitalization project to sustainably build a 21st century urban community. The project is attracting international attention for its commitment to creating partnerships between the private and public sectors.Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 8.58.03 AM

USGBC Colorado credits Colorado’s commercial real estate industry with successfully bridging the gap between sectors to execute Union Station and other green building projects large and small. The organization’s 2015 Commercial Real Estate Forum will work to facilitate the relationships public, private and nonprofit leaders need to realize sustainable design.

Green schools leaders gain resources: Colorado schools are under enormous pressure as their enrollments grow and their buildings age. A handful of private and public programs in the state support schools that wish to renovate or build their facilities sustainably.

The Colorado Energy Office will bundle all its programs in a new Energy Savings for Schools offering this year while the Colorado Department of Education will open a new Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Program grant round with an expected $35–$45 million of available funding.

Meanwhile, a study published last month found certified commercial green buildings on average cut greenhouse gas emissions from water consumption by 50 percent, reduced solid waste management-related GHG emissions by 48 percent and lowered transportation-related GHG emissions by 5 percent, when compared to their traditional California counterparts.

Source: Environmental Leader


 

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Sweden’s greenest City Hall is topped by solar panels and a green roof in Lund

Christensen & Co Architects recently completed the first phase of Lund’s City Hall, a building that when complete, will be the greenest City Hall in all of Sweden. Designed with a pleated W-shaped plan, the building’s curtain walls bring in natural light and offer views out towards the landscape. The City Hall is located at Lund’s historic city center and will host 269,000 square feet of office space, conference facilities, a public ground floor, and accessible green roof.

Equipped with solar panels and earth water cooling, Lund City Hall only uses a fraction of the energy normally consumed by typical government buildings. Its dynamic, W-shaped facade was key in reducing the building’s energy footprint, and each facade is carefully oriented to optimize passive technologies and solar heat gain. The north-facing facades are completely glazed to maximize natural lighting indoors, while the south-facing facades are covered with dynamic solar-control panels that respond to daylight conditions. The facades facing the city center are designed with classical features to match region’s historic character.

The accessible green roof also plays a big role in making Lund City Hall energy efficient. In addition to sequestering carbon, the green roof helps regulate internal temperatures, store rainwater, and provide natural habitat for local flora and fauna. The green roof also acts as an extension between the neighboring new park and the adjacent historic city center.

Source: Inhabitat


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