Category Archives: Architecture

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The Evolution of Glass Houses

In 1949, when Phillip Johnson designed the world-famous glass house in New Canaan, Connecticut, it is doubtful he thought much about the adage, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” I doubt Mr. Johnson specified much in the way of thermal-pane glass, either. Nor had solar windows yet been invented. Using windows as…

Bamboo, Plastic Bottles Make Eco-Friendly Greenhouse

Hanoi architecture firm 1+1>2, in collaboration with Action For The City, has designed an eco-friendly greenhouse that protects growing plants from the elements, provides a place for farmers to rest and a offers a creative play space for children to learn more about their environment. It also offers a break from the visual sameness of…

What Happens When Amateurs Design Cabins

Rendering of the Wedge cabin design

A team made up of non-architectural graduate students at Cal Poly Pomona University have redesigned what camping means in California.  The team was asked to develop a cabin design that would reenergize camping in the state, particularly among non-traditional campers, such as minorities and young adults. Two weeks of research, including a visit to a…

Italy Gets its First Passivhaus Certified School

The importance of energy efficiency has become gospel in many parts of the world- most notably in countries like Japan, which have committed to making all new public buildings passive and net zero energy structures from here on out. In the US, companies like Turner have said that the future of the commercial market is…

Japan Pushes for Net Zero Standard on New Buildings

Japan Net Zero Building

With the rapid pace of advancement from energy efficient smart homes, to passive homes, to energy plus homes, the architecture and construction industries are leading the way in terms of building a sustainable future. Japan, however, is hoping to ensure that sustainable design doesn’t become a passing fad by pushing for all public buildings to…

Amazon Heats Building With Data Center Waste Heat

Old tech- in the form of hydronic heating– meets new in nearby data centers, creating ‘green heating’ in Amazon’s latest new buildings in Seattle, WA. The offices and work areas of the new Amazon buildings will be heated by utilizing the waste heat of a nearby data center, and Amazon’s not stopping there. Heat from the…

$4000 Prefab House Project From Vietnam

I recently discovered this very affordable prefab house on Gizmag from North Wales author, Adam Williams. I found the house to be attractive and livable, with a story very much worth sharing. Overview: a Vietnam-based firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently revealed an affordable prefabricated prototype house to potentially offer Vietnamese people on low incomes…

Have You Ever Seen an Amish Barn-Raising? (Video)

amish barn raising

Ohio’s Amish population is known for shunning many modern conveniences, which may lead some people to think that they’re not very much in tune with “trends” like environmentalism — but they’d be wrong. The Amish are Faithful stewards of their land, and work together to make the most of their resources and their community, and…

Norway “Plus House” Makes More Energy Than it Uses

The Research Center on Zero Emissions Buildings (ZEB) in Trondheim, Norway has a new facility to showcase its work. Designed by architectural firm Snohetta, the ZEB Pilot House takes the “plus house” design theme further than any other existing building, producing twice the energy it consumes. The angle of the roof was carefully calculated to capture…

Tokyo Designer Presents Underground Bike Parking

With more and more commuters turning to bicycles in cities across the world, bike parking has become a critical component in any forward-looking urban planning discussions. Over in Japan, however, one company has come up with a solution that can accommodate hundreds of cyclists without taking up much space or creating an army of urban…

U.S. Wood Design Awards

This call for wood design nominations is for all lovers of wood! The due date is fast approaching (September 30 deadline) to nominate work for the Wood Design awards. Here is pertinent information from the website: Wood Design Awards celebrate excellence in wood design, engineering and construction, as well as innovative projects that showcase attributes of…

Does Passive House Design Work In Extreme Heat?

Passive House in Qatar

A home in Barwar City, Qatar is set to be the guinea pig to answer whether Passive House design will work in the desert.  Passive House (or Passivhaus in German) design relies on the mass of a building and super insulation to naturally heat and cool a building, limiting the need for heat and air…

Next Trend in Passive House Design: Passive Hospitals

Passive House Hospital Design

Passive house design has gone from an emerging architectural trend to a firmly established movement that’s entrenched itself in the professional and public mind. Even so, most people – both industry experts and laypeople – take the term literally, and equate “passive house” with, you know, houses. The truth, meanwhile, is that the same principles…

Green Materials Report: Cork Flooring

Cork flooring

This post is part of the Green Materials Report series.  GBE is providing information on various building materials and what makes them green.  Each post focuses on one material.  We will be looking at the ingredients in the material, how it is used, what makes it green, and any green product certifications that it has earned.  We…

Fitting In, Architecturally Speaking

One of the fundamental qualities of good architecturally designed buildings is that they fit into their own unique site. Two examples that couldn’t be more different but that are both beautifully designed buildings for their spaces are the Transustainable House and the Sempachersee Golf Course Club House. The Transustainable House is a residential home designed…

Guest Post: New Tools for Improving Energy Efficiency at Universities

Any time we hear about improving energy efficiency we get excited. Read this guest post from Danielle Kershner, with contributing help from Keri Masterson.  Intelligent buildings can now match the demands of multi-faceted institutions By Danielle Kershner of Eco Brandit Reducing energy consumption to save money is a concept becoming increasingly important. But how are…

Treehouse in Memorial City, Both are More than a Name Suggests

As cities re-develop and re-define themselves in new urban and sustainable ways, mixed-used mini-cities are becoming popular oasises in the midst of traditional metropolitan areas. In Houston, Texas, one of such, ‘city-with-in-a-city’ exists and is called Memorial City. It is 7.6 million SF of a place that intertwines the living, shopping, working and play parts…