Open Call: ITAD Competition Seeks Student Proposals for “Urban Smart Green Office”

Singapore. Image © Flickr CC User Leonid Yaitskiy

The Singapore Building and Construction Authority (BCA), together with (SIA) and (SGBC) are jointly organizing the International Tropical Architecture Design Competition 2015 for Institutes of Higher Learning (ITAD Competition) for the fifth run this year. Themed “Urban Smart Green Office,” this year’s competition seeks for innovative and sustainable design entries that demonstrates the essentials and key constituents of a Smart Green Office Building in an urban city of participant’s choice. The competition is open to tertiary students worldwide. Read on to learn more.

3 Projects Win 2015 Global Holcim Awards for Sustainability

Courtesy of Holcim Foundation

Emerging from over 6,000 entries, three winners of the fourth Global Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction have been selected. The international competition, occurring every three years, recognizes designs that provide sustainable solutions to local issues faced by communities throughout the world. This year’s winning projects addressed sites in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the United States and will receive monetary prizes ranging from $50,000 to $200,000.

The winning entries were selected from last year’s top-prize recipients in the five regional Holcim Awards competitions, a total of 15 proposals (see our previous coverage here). An international jury of industry leaders, led by Mohsen Mostafavi (Dean of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design), determined the winners of the 2015 Global Holcim Awards.

See the winners after the break.

Ball-Nogues Compostable “Pulp Pavilion” Brings Shade to Coachella

© Joshua White

To demonstrate the structural potential of “pulp,” Ball-Nogues Studio built an experimental reclaimed paper pavilion this year at Coachella. The lightweight, self-supported structure, known as the ”Pulp Pavilion,” was made from a low-cost blend of , water and pigment sprayed onto lattices of organic rope. After its use as a place of refuge for festival goers, it will be either composted or recycled. See the pavilion illuminated at night, after the break.

Leonardo DiCaprio Taps Jason McLennan to Design “Restorative” Eco-Resort in Belize

Rending of one of 48 private houses planned to be sold on the island. Image © McLennan Design via The New York Times

Founder of the Living Building Challenge, sustainability aficionado and architect Jason McLennan has been commissioned by famed actor Leonardo DiCaprio to design a 68-vila eco-resort on a private island in Belize. As The New York Times reports, the ambitious 42 hectare (104 acres) “Blackadore Caye, a Restorative Island” will be carried out by New York developer Delos by 2018. 

The resort will feature an arc of floating suites built over the water and a network of artificial reefs and fish shelters, along with 48 millionaire villas and an indigenous plant nursery focused on manatee conservation.

“My goal was always the fact that I wanted to create something not just environmental, but restorative,” said DiCaprio to the newspaper. “A showcase for what is possible.”

raumspielkunst Envisions Next Generation Gas Station in Chile

Courtesy of

Where the Panamerican Route passes along Rancagua, Chile, it does so in a seemingly interminable straight line, intersecting with the H-35 toward the Pacific and the Andes. At this junction between two of ’s arterial roads German practice raumspielkunst has envisioned “The Cloud,” a new form of self-sufficient gas station.

Responding to the nature of its site as a meeting point between the industrial and the touristic, the environmentally efficient gas station would cater for thousands of commuters each day.

Mexican Company Develops Wood Substitute from a Tequila Byproduct

A sample of the material. Image © Plastinova via phys.org

Searching for an alternative to costly and resource intensive materials, Mexican company Plastinova has developed a wood substitute from a byproduct of tequila and recycled which it claims is not only renewable, but also stronger than the materials that it hopes to replace.

Video: Jørn Utzon’s Nature-Inspired Sydney Opera House

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Sydney Opera House recently created a video exploring how Jørn Utzon was inspired by the form and function of nature. While Jørn Utzon may not have seen himself as a pioneer of sustainable techniques, was inherent in his design philosophy. Watch the video above to learn more. 

Perkins+Will’s CIRS Building Wins RAIC’s Green Building Award

A pre-existing ‘desire line’ that cuts through the site was retained.. Image © Martin Tessler

Perkins+Will‘s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) at the University of British Columbia has been announced as the recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada‘s 2015 Green Building Award. Granted by the RAIC and Canada Green Building Council, the award celebrates stellar architectural designs adhering to responsiveness to occupants’ well-being and environmental responsibility. The CIRS achieved LEED Platinum status and is a regenerative structure, implementing ingenious strategies to sustain net-positive energy, net-zero water, and net-zero carbon in both construction and operation.

Share Your Ideas for a Livable City with the Walking Visionaries Awards

Walk21 Vienna has launched its Walking Visionaries Awards, a challenge that invites people from around the globe to explore the many ways walking can be implemented into our daily lives to support sustainable and livable . Submit a solution now through April 30, 2015 for a chance to participate in the Walk21 Conference in Vienna, Austria in October 2015. 30 winners will receive a free ticket to the conference and given the chance to meet leading professionals and share their ideas with other visionaries through mediums such as lectures, round table discussions, and workshops. Additionally, the winners’ solutions will be published in the conference documentation. Selected by both public opinion and a jury vote, winning submissions will be announced in June 2015. For more information or to submit an idea, visit walk21vienna.com.

Città della Scienza Masterplan Predicts Future of Self-Sustaining Cities

Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecture

Developed for an international planning and architectural competition, this proposed for the Città della Scienza by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, coffice – studio di architettura e urbanistica, and Studio d’Architettura Briguglio Morales fuses sustainability with history to propose a self-sufficient urban ecosystem in Italy. Operating on the principle of living facades, the Città della Scienza revitalizes the forgotten military district into a vibrant, continually regenerating living city.

Read on after the break for a closer look at the plan.

Arquitetas Invisíveis Presents 48 Women in Architecture: Part 7, Sustainable Architecture

Courtesy of Arquitetas Invisíveis

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked the Brazilian non-profit group Arquitetas Invisíveis to share with us a part of their work, which identifies women in architecture and urbanism. They kindly shared with us a list of 48 important women architects, divided into seven categories: pioneers, “in the shadows,” architectureurbanism, social architecture, landscape architecture and sustainable architecture. We will be sharing this list over the course of the week.

Today, in the last post of the series, we present the female architects who put an emphasis on sustainability.

Vienna to Build World’s Tallest Wooden Skyscraper

© OLN/office le nomade

Rüdiger Lainer and Partner plans to construct the world’s tallest wooden skyscraper next year in Vienna’s Seestadt Aspern area. 76 percent of the 84-meter tower is expected to be made from wood rather than concrete, saving approximately 2,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions (equivalent to driving a car 25 miles a day for 1,300 years).

“I think it is important everyone now in 2014 thinks in different ways. We have wood, which is a perfect construction material for building,” she said. “It was used 200 years ago and it was perfect then and is perfect now,” says Kerbler project developer Caroline Palfy, commenting on the architects’ decision to use wood due to its environmental benefits.

An interior loft view and more details, after the break. 

Curtin University Masterplan First to Receive 5 Green Star-Communities Rating in Australia

Courtesy of Curtin University

The Curtin University Master Plan has become the first project to receive a 5 Star Green Star-Communities Rating by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Helmed by AECOM and Donaldson and Warn architects, the plan sets forth a strategy for the renewal of the University’s main campus in Bentley, Perth, aiming to create a “vibrant urban community” that combines commercial, retail, residential, , and transport infrastructure. Sustainability is a cornerstone of the project, which seeks to be adaptable to, and respectful of, its site and heritage. 

The 5-star rating honours Australian Excellence in “innovation, design excellence, environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and liveability”. Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.

ArchiBlox Designs World’s First Prefabricated Carbon Positive House

© Tom Ross

Australian company ArchiBlox has released its design for the world’s first carbon positive prefabricated house. Representing a new movement in houses, the carbon positive house provides the option for a more environmentally-conscious design, through both reducing embodied energy that accompanies new-home construction and maintaining positive-energy production. The groundbreaking product line began its first installation on February 8 at Melbourne’s City Square.  

Solid Wood: The Rise of Mass Timber Architecture

Courtesy of Routledge

Largely overlooked in the development of Modernism,  architecture is making a comeback in the 21st century with the success of designers such as last year’s Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, and the push toward timber towers from large influential firms such as SOM. In the following extract, author Joseph Mayo introduces his new book,Solid Wood: Case Studies in Mass Timber Architecture, Technology and Design,” which examines the rise of mass timber design through historical analysis and contemporary case studies.

Few books have addressed the use of wood in large, non-residential buildings. While light frame construction and residential resources are common, little has been written about the use of in taller, urban, commercial and institutional buildings. Solid Wood presents a survey of new timber architecture around the world to reveal this construction type’s unique appeal and potential. Not surprisingly, enthusiasm for solid wood architecture (also known as mass timber architecture) and engineering is now growing rapidly among a new generation of architects and designers.

Six Public-Interest Design Projects Honored with 2015 SEED Awards

Studio H Collaborative. Image Courtesy of Design Corps

The 2015 winners of the annual Social Economic Environment Design (SEED) for Excellence in Public Interest Design have been announced. The international competition celebrates designs which excel in these realms, and strive to create manageable sustainable impacts. The winning projects, selected by a jury, will receive $1000, as well as attendance to the annual Structures for Inclusion conference in Detroit, Michigan in April.

The six winning projects each encompass the ideals of community outreach, socio-economic improvement, and environmental awareness in the context of their unique locations. Though the designs are distinct, the values they embody are universal.

Read more about the winning designs after the break.

Through the Lens: The Social Implications of Green Roofs in Film

“Hobbiton,” the home of the virtuous Hobbits. Image © www.bonvoyadventuretravel.com

Film often makes a mockery of architectural features. Glass facades are obliterated by gunfire, grisly murders are set against a white modernist palette, deconstructed stairs are the cause of nasty accidents or ludicrous slapstick, and you just know a tensile fabric roof will be shredded by the time 007 is finished with it.

There is one architectural feature however that has benefited from very complimentary treatment by the film industry, and surprisingly it is a sustainable one. Green roofs and other “architectural” green spaces have been popping up regularly in mainstream movies over the past decade: blockbusters including The Vow (2012) and Source Code (2011) utilized the greenscape outside Gehry‘s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park; last year the Vancouver Convention Centre was featured in both Godzilla and Robocop; and Kaspar Schroder’s 2009 uber cool documentary My Playground, about the sport of parkour (the art of bouncing off buildings made famous by the opening scenes of Casino Royale), features BIG’s Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen. And we cannot forget two of the biggest film franchises in history: both of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises feature green roofs in their portrayal of Hobbiton – home of the virtuous and incorruptible Hobbits.

Vincent Callebaut’s 2050 Vision of Paris as a “Smart City”

View of the comprehensive city plan. Image Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecture

Addressing ’ housing and density issues, French firm Vincent Callebaut Architectures has developed a proposal for multiple high-rise buildings with positive energy output (BEPOS). Comprised of eight multi-use structures inhabiting various locations within Paris, the plan strives to address major problems affecting each district, while providing key functions for the city.