Interview With RIBA International Prize-Winning Architect

UTEC (Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología) in Lima, Peru, recently won the first ever RIBA International Prize for 2016. The Royal Institute of British Architects judged the project as “setting a new global standard for architectural achievement.” In an interview with Figueras Seating, Alejandro Shell Montero of Shell Arquitectos spoke about the design and how it reflected both the surrounding natural environment and the people who would occupy it. Here are some excerpts from that interview: The shape of the building reflects…

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The ABCs of Green Building Materials – Adobe (New Series!)

Green building materials are as diverse as Earth itself. Some of the most sustainable materials on the planet are modern inventions, and some are as old as the hills, like adobe. Familiarizing yourself with the best green building materials will help ensure your environmentally friendly projects enjoy sustainable success. Over the next several weeks, watch for new posts in GBE’s new series, “The ABCs of Green Building Materials.” If you have a project in mind highlighting any great green building…

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10 Earth-Friendly Building Materials for Earth Day

Borrowing from Discovery.com’s 2012 top ten list of natural building materials, here are ten earth-friendly building materials, some old and some new. 1. Rock Locally sourced rock is the most earth-friendly, due to short transportation distances. Extraction may be the most energy intense part of the life cycle of this material. Rocks can be mortared together with earthen plasters such as sand and clay or lime. Rock walls have very good thermal mass, which means that they absorb the outside temperature,…

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El Presidio Real de Santa Barbara

A Journey through the Natural Building Techniques: Adobe

The word adobe comes from the Arabic word al-tob, which means “the brick” and from Coptic tube, which also means “brick”. A brick is precisely what adobe is, a sun-dried brick of clay-soil and sand, with fiber added in some instances as well. These fibers, which add tensile strength, are usually straw, hair, or even horse manure. Yes, I said horse manure! Building with adobe is one of the oldest building techniques in the world, and some of the world’s oldest standing buildings were constructed with adobe.

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An Introduction to Natural Building; the Greenest Building Possible

Through Natural Building one can quite literally “sculpt” their home. From curved walls, to domes, and even eagle-shaped fireplaces, Natural Building materials are readily formable to create some spectacularly interesting homes. You can even build yourself a small shoe shaped house, if you are so inclined, and boast about the small footprint your home has!

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Modular Energy Architecture for Fuel Cells: the Bloom Energy Server

Hardly more than two years ago in Sunnyvale, CA, Bloom Energy Corporation, founded in 2001, announced its commitment to changing the way people generate and consume energy. To accomplish this, it offered the Bloom Energy Server, a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology reputed to offer “a cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable alternative to both today’s electric grid as well as traditional renewable energy sources.”

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Looking at Ronald Rael and EarthArchitecture.org

Author and architect, Ronald Rael, says, “Currently it is estimated that one half of the world's population—approximately three billion people on six continents—lives or works in buildings constructed of earth. And while the vast legacy of traditional and vernacular earthen construction has been widely discussed, little attention has been paid to the contemporary tradition of earth architecture. “

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