Category Archives: Design

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Check it Out: Sustainable Mountain Home in Emerald Bluffs

Designing a sustainable mountain home within a nature preservation zone requires a deft touch. That’s the challenge architectural firm RTA Studio faced recently when it was asked to create a house that took advantage of a hillside location overlooking Lake Wanaka in New Zealand‘s Central Otago region. The main entrance to the Emerald Bluffs house is…

Net Zero Skyscraper For Jakarta

Indonesia’s state-owned energy company, Pertamina, began construction on its new headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia in January, 2014. Designed by US architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the 1740′ tall, 99-story net zero skyscraper will generate as much energy as it uses, have zero waste discharge, and feature reduced water demand. The architects say this is “the world’s first supertall…

Carbon Fiber is Architecture’s Lightweight Future

Carbon fiber is a miracle material. It is stronger than steel but weighs 90% less. Anca Trandafirescu and her husband, Glenn Wilcox—both assistant professors of architecture at University of Michigan and principals of Area in Ann Arbor, Mich. have won an award for an impressively strong, 14′ tall design that uses just 30 pounds of carbon…

Dunkin Donuts Goes Green With New Building Initiative

Dunkin' Donuts green building program DD Green

Dunkin Donuts recently announced the launch of “DD Green,” a green building initiative that hopes to build over 100 new certified restaurants by the end of 2016.  Could this eventually lead to healthy donuts?  We sure hope not! “We are delighted to be able to launch the DD Green initiative, a green-building certification program that is…

New BioDome For Singapore Airport

Construction has begun on a new BioDome for Singapore’s JewelChangi Airport. Designed by Moshe Safdie Architects, the glass dome will cover nearly 1.5 million square feet of space and have retail, leisure and entertainment facilities as well as green spaces open to travelers and local residents. A Canopy Garden will hover over the main floor on tree-like columns and feature a natural…

New York Building a Floating City in Hudson Yards

Daniel Burnham, the architect of some of the world’s first skyscrapers, once said “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” The developers of Hudson Yards, an entire new neighborhood rising on the West Side of Manhattan, have taken  Burnham’s words to heart. Faced…

New Green Roof Homes “Sprouting” in Sydney

Three new terrace homes featuring green roofs covered with native plants that can grow in small amounts of soil with minimal water are going up in Newtown, Australia- a suburb located just 4 miles from the Sydney Central Business District. Similar in concept to vertical gardens, the new green roofs will help provide thermal and acoustic…

Dynamic Glass Controlled by Your Smart Phone

View, a company headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, has developed glass that can can change its tint in response to changes in an electrical control voltage. The technology promises to do away with the need for curtains and blinds and save up to 23% of the energy spent on lighting, heating and cooling during peak demand. View says…

Go Up, Down, and Sideways as the Wonkavator Gets Real

No, it’s a Wonkavator. An elevator can only go up and down, but the Wonkavator can go sideways, and slantways, and longways, and backways … squareways, and front ways, and any other ways that you can think of. It can take you to any room in the whole factory just by pressing one of these…

Seattle’s NEXTHouse, by David Vandervort (Gallery)

Since we announced SunPower’s $16,000 December giveaway, we’ve gotten a few emails about the home pictured in the article. That’s the ultra-green NEXTHouse designed by David Vandervort- a 3 bed, 2.5 bath home and shop built in Seattle, Washington. Designed to be an supremely energy-efficient home, the NEXTHouse features a number of “green” technologies like…

State of the Art Cathouse Benefits Local Pet Charity

cat house

When you hear the word “cathouse”, you may or may not be thinking of well-designed, architecturally significant little shacks for your fluffy feline friends. That’s exactly what these are, however, and even though they don’t fit, 100%, into GBE’s stated mission of delivering the latest in “green”, passive, and sustainable architecture/home-improvement projects, these little cathouses…

Behold: the 100% Maintenance Free House

An experimental maintenance free house built in Denmark is exploring ways to eliminate one of the single biggest obstacles to home ownership: upkeep. Designed collaboratively by RealDaniaBYG and Arkitema Architects, the dwelling is patterned after a traditional Viking longhouse and features almost 1700 square feet of interior living space. The designers anticipate the house will need no…

Turning Old Beer Cans into a Shiny New Roof

Whether you’re building a backyard chicken coop or a DIY storage shed, you’ll want a roof that keeps your stuff out of the elements and that looks good, too. If you’re lucky, that new roof would even be made of something that was cheap and readily available. Even better: that new roof could be made…

Famous Seattle Spite House Sells For Big Money

The tiny 830 square foot home known as “the Spite House” in the Montlake section of Seattle sold recently for $397,500- nearly $500/ft., which is pretty good for the area. As for why it’s called the Spite House? Seattle’s Spite House was originally constructed to irritate its owner’s next-door neighbor … who also happened to…

Cross Laminated Timber Ideal For Urban Buildings

Architect Michael Green of Vancouver is a strong advocate for using engineered wood products like cross laminated timber (CLT) to construct medium to high rise buildings.  His mantra is “The Earth grows our food. The earth can grow our homes. It’s an ethical change that we have to go through.” He says wood sequesters carbon dioxide…

CDL’s Treehouse is World’s Largest Vertical Garden

cdl treehouse largest vertical garden

Earlier this year, CDL’s Treehouse condo project in Singapore set the official Guinness World Record for world’s largest vertical garden. The building’s green wall covers nearly 2300 sq. meters, and is expected to save the building’s residents more than $500,000 in heating and cooling bills each year. CDL’s Treehouse was completed in 2013, but the…

US is Close to Building Net Zero Neighborhoods

Hidden in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, in an otherwise unremarkable subdivision, is the ZeroHouse. The ZeroHouse is special because, as its name suggests, it uses zero net energy from the region’s electrical grid, making it one of America’s first net zero homes– and it wasn’t significantly more expensive to build than the rest of…

Old Garage Transformed into Ultra-modern Studio Office

garage turned into sleek home office

When renowned furniture designer Hugo de Ruiter decided to turn his Eindhoven home’s old brick construction into a sleek, inspiring design studio, he turned to the architects at Architecten|en|en. It was a solid move, because what they came up with- a unique, metallic workspace called “Studio R-1”- makes full use of the existing structure while…