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Sustainability: The Latest Architecture and News

Increase Efficiency, Design Freedom and Sustainability with Light Frame Wood Construction

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Proven and effective construction methods are not static, instead they're always improving. In Quebec, Canada, light wood frame and modular manufacturers are always pushing the limits of innovation. Their craft is now linked to building systems on a bold scale with offsite light wood frame construction.

Attempting to Redefine the Meaning of “Green” Could Weaken Efforts to Mitigate Climate Crisis

There’s nothing green about your back-up generator. Manufacturing it released tons of CO2 into the atmosphere; so did shipping it from the factory to the dealership to your backyard. There it will sit, idle, waiting to be deployed only when the much cleaner—but underfunded—public infrastructure fails. At that point, it will fill the air with additional pollutants. There may be perfectly good reasons to buy an emergency generator but being green—that is, protecting the environment—isn’t one of them.

Climate Crisis Is Ravaging the United States; Why Are We Still Building With Fossil Fuels?

This August, as hundreds of wildfires darkened the sky above my home in Corte Madera, California, thousands of miles away in Florida, my family braced for wind and flooding as two hurricanes barreled towards the Gulf of Mexico. We all hunkered down, anxiously, as climate change-fueled disasters wreaked havoc. For weeks, the air quality in California was too hazardous for us to open our windows or go outside. In Pensacola, the Gulf storm surge was several feet deep around my family’s home and the powerful winds downed mature oak trees in their yard.

Australia is Building the World’s First Coral Conservation Facility

Contreras Earl Architecture has revealed its design for the world-first coral ark. Located at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef in Port Douglas, North Queensland, Australia, the conservation facility “aims to secure the long-term future and biodiversity of corals worldwide which are under severe threat due to climate change”.

How Do Insulated Panels Work? Technical Diagrams on Sustainable Building Envelopes

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A building’s envelope is the first thing you notice - its defining feature, before even setting foot inside. While indisputably important, there’s much more going on than just aesthetics when designing one. There are unseen aspects and qualities that make the interior of the building safe and comfortable, which architects are constantly balancing with the visual appearance of the exterior.

Building envelopes keep out the weather, contribute to thermal and acoustic comfort, affect fire safety, and the choice of one system over another has economic, sustainability, constructability, and longevity implications to consider. In addition, there are multiple aesthetic factors a building envelope needs to address: context, color, texture, visual comfort, and overall design intent to name just a few.

Exploring The New Vernacular That Will Emerge as a Response to Climate Change

Since its installation in the late 1990s, a large clock in New York City’s Union Square has been counting up to 24 hours in each day with the number of hours, minutes, seconds, and milliseconds on display. However, the digital screen was recently repurposed as a Climate Clock and now projects the amount of time the world has left to take large-scale action on climate change- and the alarming truth, based on an IPCC Special Report on Global Warming counts down to only a little over seven years left until we reach the point of no return.

Wind Farm by Jordan Lutren. Image Courtesy of Arch Out LoudPlastic-Scape by Steven Zhang & Nikos Tsokas. Image Courtesy of Arch Out LoudSurface Ex-Tension by Jonathan Craig, Luis Arjona, Marco Nieto & Philip Elmore. Image Courtesy of Arch Out LoudWind Farm by Jordan Lutren. Image Courtesy of Arch Out Loud+ 10

What is Sustainability Anyway?

Sustainability is like teenage sex. Everybody says they’re doing it, very few people are actually doing it. Those who are doing it, are doing it badly," once Joseph Romm said.

It is evident that there are many misconceptions about what sustainable architecture really is. Some define it as building with recycled materials, others believe it is all about integrating green elements into the architecture, and some mount solar panels onto their roof and label the project “green”.

Rethinking Artificial Reef Structures through 3D Clay Printing

© Vriko Yu© Christian J. Lange© AFCD© AFCD+ 22

Corals are fundamental to marine life. Sometimes called tropical sea forests, they form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They serve as a refuge, breeding, and feeding area for dozens of species in the sea, and their absence can negatively affect local biodiversity to a tremendous degree. Yet just as humanity pollutes and destroys, it can also remedy and encourage the creation of more life. This is why shipwrecks of old vessels or the sinking of concrete structures for the creation of artificial reefs are frequently reported as providing immense potential. In Hong Kong, researchers have been developing 3D printed structures using organic materials that can lead to the creation of new opportunities under the sea.

The Incredible Architecture of Bees

Bees are perhaps the insects that most arouse our fascination and curiosity. With the exception of Antarctica, they are found on all continents, in all habitats that contain insect-pollinated flowering plants. Representations of humans collecting honey from wild bees date back to 15,000 years ago, and pots of honey have even been found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs like Tutankhamen. Although we generally have a fixed idea about what cartoon bees look like, there are thousands of species around the world, with different sizes, colors and behaviors. There are even several examples of solitary bees, many without stingers, and even some species that survive by plundering other weaker colonies. But something that has consistently impressed researchers is the organization of their hives, which are truly highly populated cities with an efficiency to make any urban planner envious.

Curl la Tourelle Head Designs 100% Social Housing Scheme in the London Borough of Brent

Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture received the green light to move forward with its latest “socially focused mixed-use scheme” that includes council homes, an adult education center, and affordable workspaces. Entitled Morland Gardens, the new project located in the London Borough of Brent, one of the district’s most deprived areas, is scheduled to start in the fall of 2020.

© Darcstudio© DarcstudioShared community courtyard garden animated by rooflights serving the college below. Image © Darcstudio© Darcstudio+ 5

Evaluating Buildings: 12 Green Building Certifications to Know

The Brundtland Report, 1987 - "Our Common Future" - introduced the notion that the sustainable use of natural resources must "meet the needs of the present generation without affecting the ability of future generations to meet theirs." Since then, the term sustainability has been popularized and, often, trivialized in our daily lives. In the construction industry, this is no different. As much as we know that to build, we need to destroy, how is it possible to mitigate the effects of construction during the useful life and demolition of buildings? A sustainable building, in its design, construction, and operation, must reduce or eliminate negative effects overall and may even generate net positive impacts on the climate and environment – preserving resources and improving the quality of life of the occupants simultaneously. To say that a building is sustainable is easy and even seductive. But what exactly makes sustainable construction?

Answering this question is not a simple exercise. That is why, in the last 30 years, several building sustainability certifications have been created. Through outsourced and impartial evaluations from different sources, they aim to verify the sustainable aspects of any construction. Each of them addresses particular building elements and is typically focused on certain regions of the world. While there are some certifications that verify whether the building meets certain efficiency criteria, others create different classifications, assigning a score based on these evaluations. Below, we list some of the primary sustainability certifications around the world – ranked alphabetically – and include their main architectural applications alongside a brief explanation:

C.F. Møller Architects Wins International Competition to Design Headquarters for German Bank Berlin Hyp

C.F. Møller Architects was selected to design the new HQ of Berlin Hyp, one of Germany’s leading real estate financiers. With a strong focus on sustainability, the winning proposal of the invited international competition, supports the bank’s vision, “contributing to the transition and urban development of the surrounding area”.

Reconsidering School Design: Indoor and Outdoor Learning as a Solution for a Healthy Future

Architects are mobilizing their efforts, to help schools around the world reconsider their design in order to guarantee sustainability, emotional wellness, and physical health. CetraRuddy, Cooper Robertson, and WXY are amongst those proposing an increase in outdoor programming and a rearrangement of classrooms, for post-pandemic school design.

The architectural scene has been witnessing lately a growing focus on indoor/outdoor functions. Discover 3 different interventions from 3 different practices, tackling one common issue, and focusing on outdoor space as a major programming element.

Back to School Facilities Tool Kit. Image © LAB Tool KitEdible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden — The Bronx, New York . Image Courtesy of Cooper RobertsonLyford Cay international Baccalaureate School - Nassau, Bahamas . Image Courtesy of Cooper RobertsonThe Choice School - Calicut, India. Image Courtesy of CetraRuddy+ 7

'The Drawdown Review' Suggests That Architects Move Toward Scalable Climate Solutions

An inspector rappels down the blade of a three megawatt wind turbine in Boulder, Colorado. Image © Dennis Schroeder/NREL
An inspector rappels down the blade of a three megawatt wind turbine in Boulder, Colorado. Image © Dennis Schroeder/NREL

Architects and designers of the built environment are often conceptualized in popular culture as progressive change agents whose canvas of steel and glass brings light to the public realm. At least one global survey of the public’s trust in various professions places architects in a top-ranked cohort that includes medical professionals and first responders. But in the United States, the architecture profession is surprisingly older and much less progressive than one might imagine.