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Sustainability

Next Cities Institute: Designing Global Urban Futures

Sponsored Article
Next Cities Institute: Designing Global Urban Futures, Shahadra Park proposes to bring life back to part of the Yamuna River. Situated in-between dense urban fabric, this highly vegetated, expansive mandi creates a new ground over the drains. Courtesy of UVA School of Architecture / Brittany Duguay
Shahadra Park proposes to bring life back to part of the Yamuna River. Situated in-between dense urban fabric, this highly vegetated, expansive mandi creates a new ground over the drains. Courtesy of UVA School of Architecture / Brittany Duguay

The University of Virginia’s School of Architecture Dean Ila Berman recently announced her intention to launch the NEXT CITIES INSTITUTE, an interdisciplinary design and research platform focused on the rapidly changing dynamics of global urban futures.

Call for Papers: The International Journal of Environmental Science & Sustainable Development (ESSD)

00:30 - 4 October, 2017
Call for Papers: The International Journal of Environmental Science & Sustainable Development (ESSD)

The International Journal of Environmental Science & Sustainable Development (ESSD) is calling for papers for its third issue titled Environmental Sustainability: Methods for Green Energy Management.

Architectural Upcycling: 3 Materials That Turn Trash Into Low-Cost Construction Elements

09:30 - 3 October, 2017
Architectural Upcycling: 3 Materials That Turn Trash Into Low-Cost Construction Elements, Courtesy of MetaComb, inc.
Courtesy of MetaComb, inc.

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Architectural Upcycling Builds Earth’s Better Future Out of Trash."

Contemporary designers are recycling waste materials into useable and well-crafted objects, and it’s easy to get the impression that this burgeoning realm of fabrication is destined only for the craft fair. A quick survey of Blaine Brownell’s new guide Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine Our Future turns up a half-dozen Etsy-ready art and furniture curios. There’s jewelry made from coffee grounds, bowls made from plastic bags, and a chair made from artichoke thistle fibers (the “Artichair”).

But these items don’t demonstrate the necessary capacity for heavy lifting and mass-market applicability for an age of climate change and dwindling resources. To grasp the kind of architectural upcycling that can divert trash from landfills and carbon from the atmosphere on a mass scale, it pays to step out of the design gallery and into the laboratory, where architects are inventing a new breed of modular building materials.

Sustainable Design Offers New Business Value for Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

Sponsored Article
Sustainable Design Offers New Business Value for Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, Site-wide pEUI Analysis using Autodesk Insight: helps identify outliers that could possibly impact the site’s energy consumption the greatest.. Image Courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
Site-wide pEUI Analysis using Autodesk Insight: helps identify outliers that could possibly impact the site’s energy consumption the greatest.. Image Courtesy of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini

Dekker/Perich/Sabatini (D/P/S) has made a strategic business decision, one that architecture firms are starting to adopt as a means to help them achieve their own sustainability goals and drive more business. With the implementation of a Building Performance Analysis (BPA) team and equipped with time-saving design tools, D/P/S has been leveraging building information modelling (BIM) for energy analysis. Since joining the AIA 2030 Commitment last year, the firm has already analyzed and reported nearly 1 million square feet in new construction projects.

All-In-One Structure Solves Flooding, Parking and the Lack of Green Space in Cities

08:00 - 25 September, 2017
All-In-One Structure Solves Flooding, Parking and the Lack of Green Space in Cities, Courtesy of THIRD NATURE
Courtesy of THIRD NATURE

As Earth’s population continues to grow, so does car traffic and issues related to climate change. It has been estimated about 30% of urban roadway congestion are drivers searching for a place to park. Car culture puts the pressure on cities to build more parking garages, which usually win out over green parks. Meanwhile, climate change continues to challenge cities to handle a great deal of stormwater. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is proof of this - as of Monday, 13 named storms have formed in the Atlantic ocean, costing 210 lives and counting. 

THIRD NATURE, a Danish architecture firm, designed a solution for the modern-day urban issues of flooding, parking and lacking green spaces with their project, POP-UP. A stacked green space, car park, and water reservoir, from top to bottom respectively, POP-UP uses Archimedes’ principle to store water and create floating space to store cars.

Courtesy of THIRD NATURE Courtesy of THIRD NATURE Courtesy of THIRD NATURE Courtesy of THIRD NATURE + 14

Solar Squared: A Glass Block That Generates Electricity

06:00 - 25 September, 2017
Solar Squared: A Glass Block That Generates Electricity, © Build Solar
© Build Solar

Renewable energy experts from the University of Exeter in England have developed a glass block with built-in solar cells. The idea is that with the spread of technology, it is possible to build a house or a whole building's facade using blocks that generate energy.

The product has been named Solar Squared, tests done at the university have shown that they guarantee thermal insulation and allow natural light to enter the building.

Vincent Callebaut Envisions Shell-Inspired Eco-Tourism Resort in The Philippines

12:58 - 19 September, 2017
Vincent Callebaut Envisions Shell-Inspired Eco-Tourism Resort in The Philippines, Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures
Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Vincent Callebaut Architectures has released a design proposal for a new eco-tourism resort in The Philippines inspired by natural coastline forms. Making extensive use of cradle-to-cradle and other sustainable design principles, the resort features a series of spiraling apartment buildings and shell-shaped hotel buildings, themselves positioned on two Fibonacci spirals of land in a coastal lagoon. At the center of the ensemble, a mountain-like complex combines a school, recreational swimming pools, sports halls, the resort's kitchens, and a suite of laboratories for environmental scientists.

Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures + 47

Inside Vancouver's Brock Commons, the World's Tallest Mass Timber Building

06:00 - 18 September, 2017
Inside Vancouver's Brock Commons, the World's Tallest Mass Timber Building, Courtesy of naturallywood.com
Courtesy of naturallywood.com

“Plyscraper,” “woodscraper,” call it what you will, but the timber age is upon us. Brock Commons Tallwood House, the recently completed student residence building at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, now occupies a prominent position within architecture: the tallest building with a timber structure in the world.

Courtesy of naturallywood.com Courtesy of naturallywood.com Courtesy of naturallywood.com Courtesy of naturallywood.com + 15

Algae Dome by SPACE10 Could 'Combat Chronic Malnutrition'

06:00 - 12 September, 2017
Algae Dome by SPACE10 Could 'Combat Chronic Malnutrition', © Niklas Adrian Vindelev
© Niklas Adrian Vindelev

SPACE10's latest project displayed last week at Copenhagen's CHART art fair hosts the secret to combating malnutrition, greenhouse gases and ending deforestation - a pretty steep demand for a structure only four meters tall. The hero of this story is a microalgae that runs through the three hundred and twenty meters of tubing entwined around the pavilion.

IKEA's future living lab worked with bioengineer, Keenan Pinto and three architects, Aleksander Wadas, Rafal Wroblewski and Anna Stempniewicz to build a photobioreactor that facilitates the high production of microalgae that can be grown almost anywhere on the planet. During the three days of the fair, 450 liters of algae was grown as visitors got to experience the full extent of the neon green process.

© Niklas Adrian Vindelev © Niklas Adrian Vindelev © Niklas Adrian Vindelev © Niklas Adrian Vindelev + 14

Antarctic Base McMurdo Station Receives Sustainable New Master Plan

06:00 - 4 September, 2017
Antarctic Base McMurdo Station Receives Sustainable New Master Plan, © OZ Architecture
© OZ Architecture

McMurdo Station, the American Antarctic base, was never meant to be a permanent settlement when it was built in 1956, yet today it is home to 250 people full-time in addition to approximately 1,000 summer workers each year. Consisting now of over 100 buildings spread across 164 acres, the settlement acts as a logistical base for field science but is dysfunctional for the scientists and researchers who live and work there and inefficient in terms of meeting the demands of Antarctica’s harsh climate. OZ Architecture has recently unveiled a new master plan for McMurdo that aims to turn the station into a model of American leadership in science, engineering, sustainability, and architecture, condensing the current sprawl into a 300,000 square foot campus composed of 6 buildings.

© OZ Architecture © OZ Architecture Current McMurdo Station. Image © Peter Somers Current McMurdo Station. Image © OZ Architecture + 14

Student Design Competition: Innovation 2030

19:30 - 31 August, 2017
Student Design Competition: Innovation 2030

Architects play a crucial role in addressing both the causes and effects of climate change through the design of the built environment. Innovative design thinking is key to producing architecture that meets human needs for both function and delight, adapts to climate change projections, continues to support the health and well being of inhabitants despite natural and human-caused disasters, and minimizes contributions to further climate change through greenhouse gas emissions.

This Pavillion Lives and Dies Through Its Sustainable Agenda

08:00 - 30 August, 2017
This Pavillion Lives and Dies Through Its Sustainable Agenda, © Krishna & Govind Raja
© Krishna & Govind Raja

Are the concrete buildings we build actually a sign of architectural progress? Defunct housing projects abandoned shopping malls, and short-sighted urban projects are more often than not doomed to a lifetime of emptiness after they have served their purpose. Their concrete remains and transforms into a lingering reminder of what was once a symbol of modern ambition. Stadiums and their legacies, in particular, come under high scrutiny of how their giant structures get used after the games are over, with few Olympic stadiums making successful transitions into everyday life. With a new approach to sustainability, the Shell Mycelium pavilion is part of a manifesto towards a more critical take on building. Say the designers on their position: “We criticize these unconscious political choices, with living buildings, that arise from nature and return to nature, as though they never existed.”

The Shell Mycelium Pavillion is a collaboration between BEETLES 3.3 and Yassin Areddia Designs and offers an alternative to conscious design through temporary structures. Located at the MAP Project space at the Dutch Warehouse, the pavillion formed part of the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2016 Collateral in India.

How (and Why) to Let Weather Into Your Buildings

09:30 - 24 August, 2017
How (and Why) to Let Weather Into Your Buildings

Bringing the weather inside is usually the opposite of what you want from a building envelope. However, new research from the University of Oregon, described in an article by The Washington Post, aims to show the physical and psychological benefits of letting nature inside. Signs of nature and change are both beneficial to our well-being, yet we don’t always have access to them when inside buildings—and humans are now spending 90% of our lives inside. But even in an urban setting, where nature may be hard to come by, there’s no escaping the weather. When researchers found ways to bring things like wind and dappled reflections of the sun inside, they found that exposure to these natural movements lowered heart rates, while being less distracting than similar artificially generated movements.

By now, green buildings are a familiar concept, but the article in The Washington Post proposes moving beyond green buildings as we know them today. While green building can be great in new construction, that excludes a lot of existing buildings that could and should also benefit from an intervention of nature. Ideally, buildings should actively demonstrate their relationship with nature, moving beyond simply “doing no harm.”

© Hiroyuki Oki © Carlos Chen © Alex de Rijke © Alejandro Arango + 7

5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials

14:00 - 20 August, 2017
5 Passive Cooling Alternatives Using Robotics and Smart Materials, Cortesía de IAAC
Cortesía de IAAC

The IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) has developed a series of advanced materials and systems for air conditioning and passive ventilation, allowing homes to reduce interior temperatures up to 5 degrees lower while saving the electricity consumption caused by the traditional air-conditioning. The systems are made from long-lifespan materials, which lower the costs of maintenance in the long-term and can be used as low-cost alternative building technologies. 

The projects highlighted are the Breathing Skin, Hydroceramics, Hydromembrane, Morphluid and Soft Robotics - all developed by students of the IAAC's Digital Matter Intelligent Constructions (conducted by Areti Markopoulou). The passive air-conditioning of spaces is investigated using a combination of new materials that mimic organic processes, adaptive structures and Robotics that help regulate temperature and create sustainable micro climates. 

Agency2017: Australasian Student Architecture Congress in Sydney

18:02 - 14 August, 2017
Agency2017: Australasian Student Architecture Congress in Sydney

The Australasian Student Architecture Congress (ASAC)—titled Agency 2017—will be held in Sydney from the 28th of November to the 2nd of December. It will be the first congress held in Sydney since 1999 and student-led by ASAC Inc., a non-profit student body based in NSW, Australia.

Margot Krasojević Designs Bridge That Sails Like a Ship

14:00 - 13 August, 2017
Margot Krasojević Designs Bridge That Sails Like a Ship, © Margot Krasojević
© Margot Krasojević

Dr. Margot Krasojević, known for creating impossibly futuristic architecture has unveiled her latest project: a bridge that can sail across the water. Dubbed the “Revolving Sail Bridge” - the experimental project was commissioned by the Ordos government in the Kanbashi District of Inner Mongolia (China) to be built across the Wulamulum River. Featuring a main floating section topped with a carbon-fibre triple sail, the flexible structure is capable of sailing anywhere across the river to relocate itself.

© Margot Krasojević © Margot Krasojević © Margot Krasojević © Margot Krasojević + 20

The Rehabilitation of Traditional Nubian Houses of Bigga

17:30 - 8 August, 2017
The Rehabilitation of Traditional Nubian Houses of Bigga

As part of larger ElBaseetah Suburbs for Investment and Community Development S.A.E. RTNHB project in south Egypt; RTNHB will provide an entertainment and social space among Nubian people, their visitors, and guests. Funded by ECO Group, the site will be an attractive Nubian area, a spot of social interaction, cultural dialogue, and place for entertainment in front of Philae Temple.

IKEA Launches Home Solar Battery to Take on Tesla

14:30 - 4 August, 2017
IKEA Launches Home Solar Battery to Take on Tesla, Courtesy of Solarcentury
Courtesy of Solarcentury

A new challenger has stepped into the ring of home solar batteries, and it’s a name you may recognize: global furniture retailer IKEA.

A competitor to Tesla’s now-available Powerwall home battery and solar roof system, IKEA’s home battery will be first sold in the UK, where owners of solar-powered homes can typically only sell excess energy produced back to the national grid at a loss. The battery pack will instead allow that power to be stored for later use, helping homeowners reduce their electricity bills by as much as 70 percent.