Some of the most picturesque projects are those built in the mountains; the rustic cabin wrapped with a floor-to-ceiling glass panel that overlooks the snow-covered trees. Visually, the architecture exudes an enchanting feeling, but is it truly a habitable space? When houses are built on an elevation of 3,000 meters, installing a fire element alone is not efficient or sustainable. Spaces on such altitudes or particular geographic locations require to be treated thoroughly, beginning with the architecture itself. Whether it's through hydronic in-floor heating systems or wall-mounted chimneys, this interior focus explores how even the most extreme winter conditions did not get in the way of ensuring optimum thermal comfort.
Passive Design: The Latest Architecture and News
MVRDV and GRAS announced the completion of five of the seven buildings of Project Gomila in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The residential complex was originally comprised of four existing buildings, adding three new ones for a total of 60 new dwellings and new commercial spaces. The project aligns with revamping the historic neighborhood "El Terreno" as a vibrant and sustainable residential site, home of bohemian nightclubs that hosted iconic musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, and Tom Jones.
The Zero Carbon policy is intended to create a kind of ecological balance to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions. Several studies report that the construction sector is one of the main responsible for the unbalance in which we find ourselves today, after all, it consumes natural resources on a gigantic scale and still builds buildings that do not collaborate with the maintenance of the environment. Therefore, searching for paths towards a carbon neutral architecture has become fundamental and one of them is learning from past masters, such as the Brazilian architect João Filgueiras Lima, known as Lelé.
Before fossil-fuel powered air-conditioning became widely available, people living in harsh climates had nothing but natural means to ventilate their spaces and control the interior temperature. To do so, they took into account several external factors such as their location, orientation with respect to the sun and wind, their area's climate conditions, and local materials. In this article, we explore how ancient civilizations in Western Asia and North Africa have used windcatchers to adapt to the region's harsh climate and provide passive cooling solutions that are still being used in contemporary architecture, proving that local approaches to climate adaptability are fundamental to the development of today's built environment.
Automation is everywhere around us - our homes, furniture, offices, cars, and even our clothing; we have become so accustomed to being surrounded by automated systems that we have forgotten what life was like without them. And while automation has noticeably improved the quality of interior spaces with solutions like purified air and temperature control, nothing compares to the natural cool breeze of mother nature.
But just like everything else in architecture, there is no one size fits all; what works in Tanzania cannot work in Switzerland or Colombia. This is due to several reasons, such as the difference in wind direction, average temperature, spatial needs, and environmental restrictions (or lack thereof). In this article, we take a look at natural ventilation in all its forms, and how architects have employed this passive solution in different contexts.
Solar heating has existed in architecture since ancient times, when people used adobe and stone walls to trap heat during the day and slowly release it at night. In its modern form, however, solar heating first developed in the 1920s, when European architects began experimenting with passive solar methods in mass housing. In Germany, Otto Haesler, Walter Gropius, and others designed schematic Zeilenbau flats that optimized sunlight, and following the import of “heliotropic housing” to the U.S., wartime fuel shortages during World War II quickly popularized passive solar heating. Variations of this system then proliferated around the world, but it was not until 1967 that the first Trombe wall was implemented by architect Jacques Michel in Odeillo, France. Named after engineer Felix Trombe, the system combines glass and a dark, heat-absorbing material to conduct heat slowly into the house.
Although the sun is almost 150 million kilometers away, this star has had the most impact on our planet. But while some are busy chasing the sun for sun-kissed skin, architects are all about creating sun-kissed spaces.
By definition, “passive solar energy is the collection and distribution of energy obtained by the sun using natural means”. The simple concept and process of implementing passive solar energy systems have provided buildings with heat, lighting, mechanical power, and electricity in the most environmentally-conscious way possible.
In this article, we will provide you with a complete guide of implementing passive solar systems in your designs.
As the demand of a sustainable lifestyle increases, cities are trying to find strategies to create environmentally friendly communities. From passive designs to recycled materials, architects are turning their attention to climate change and trying to find solutions through architecture and design.
The Zero Emission Neighborhood is an eco-village concept proposed by Architecture for Humans in the city of Pristina, Kosovo. The concept ensures optimum sustainability for the entire community through “zero emission” buildings, passive design strategies, active solar systems, and energy efficient appliances.
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, towers at 828 meters in the heart of Dubai’s ever-growing urban core. But just a few hours east of the metropolis, a different kind of monument is garnering tourism to the United Arab Emirates: the Al Hajar Mountains. With its peak at 3,008 meters, the mountain range’s natural elegance rivals the country’s architectural achievements. The Biodomes Wildlife Conservation Centre, a project from Baharash Architecture for the UAE’s Eco Resort Group, seeks to celebrate the mountain range through an ecotourism paradigm.
Based on an interpretation of local black agricultural barns, the 300-square-meter house will be clad in charred timber, an ancient Japanese form of natural preservation as a way to enhance the longevity and beauty of wood.
A proposal from George Batzios Architects for the Konaki Averof Cultural Center in Greece uses a cutting edge, sustainable approach to revive a deeply historical site. The design intertwines elements of architecture and agriculture to refit an existing structure with reference to the Thessalian plains on which it lies. The new architecture recreates the existing envelopes with straw cladding, regenerating the "golden environment" which defined the place in the late 19th century.
Located high in the Himalayan Mountains, the sparsely populated region of Ladakh is one of the more remote places on Earth. At over 3500 meters above sea level, the region includes terrain consisting of steep cliffs and wide valleys, and an extreme climate to match: temperatures often reach +30 degrees celsius in the summer months and drop to -30 degrees celsius in the winter. Severe weather patterns such as these typically require durable construction materials and technologies - yet with the region’s difficult-to-reach location and a construction season lasting only four to six months, importing materials becomes a costly, if not impossible task. Luckily, with help from Czech architecture firm Archide, residents were able to find that the best material for the job was one found right outside their doors: rammed earth.
From the publisher. A compendium for architects
The passive house standard is developing more and more into the international key currency of energy-efficient construction. Passive houses are being erected in almost all parts of the world and for all types of users. “Plus energy” buildings and entire zero-energy districts show that the passive house standard is also a sound basis for advanced efficiency strategies. At the same time, many architects are unsure about the specifics: What do passive houses really deliver, and what errors need to be avoided during planning?
Neutelings Riedijk Architects has begun construction on the Herman Teirlinck Building, which, when complete, will be the largest passive office building in Belgium, serving as a mixed-use center for the Flemish government.
The 66,500 square-meter building, located in Brussels, will be built along the canal on the site of Tour & Taxis, one of the last large-scale development locations in the heart of the city, in hopes that it will transform the area into “a new high-quality green urban district with mixed functions.”
Material Minds, presented by ArchDaily Materials, is our new series of short interviews with architects, designers, scientists, and others who use architectural materials in innovative ways. Enjoy!
Arthur Andersson of Andersson-Wise Architects wants to build ruins. He wants things to be timeless - to look good now and 2000 years from now. He wants buildings to fit within a place and time. To do that he has a various set of philosophies, processes and some great influences. Read our full in-depth interview with Mr. Andersson, another revolutionary "Material Mind," after the break.