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Tag: sustainable architecture

Here's an aerial view of the Burwood Brickworks Shopping Center in Melbourne Australia

A sustainability ethos

The Artdog Images of Interest

I have a thing for “green” architecture. I think the potential to build things that actually improve the environment is amazing. Much better than conventional projects that blight or destroy it. All over the world, I’m delighted to see a sustainability ethos begin to rise up. We all need a sense that we have a moral obligation to do better.

All over the world, but not as much in the USA. That’s not to say we have nothing of the sort hereSeveral local projects in the Kansas City metro have included a sustainability ethos in their planning. But other countries are building most of the cutting-edge projects.

The quote from "Light of Mine" says: "Sustainable development is the masterful balance of meeting our own needs without jeopardizing future generations' ability to do the same."

I recently learned about three different sustainable projects that could guide part of a solution to our climate crisis. I’ve posted about them on social media. But I also wanted to collect some thoughts about them here. Each one demonstrates a great sustainability ethos.

Humanscapes of Auroville, India

This sustainable housing complex has already been built (from locally-sourced materials). Auroville has a rather extraordinary visionary origin, itself. Humanscapes fits right in. It’s a net-positive energy project, which generates more energy than it uses. 

It’s also part of a long-term study of how built spaces can foster community among those who live or work there. Designed for young adults, students and faculty, it features beautiful and flexible common areas among its innovations.

The complex was designed by the local firm Auroville Design ConsultantsRead more about it on Inhabitat and Arch Daily.

Net-positive housing in Auroville, India, with common space at left.
Humanscapes of Auroville, India, is part of an experiment in sustainable living and community-building. (Akshay Arora/Auroville Design Consultants)
This illustrated quote from Phil Harding says, "Without environmental sustainability, economic stability and social cohesion cannot be achieved."

Planners and designers overlook the sustainability element in the economic and social picture far too often. But when you fail to evaluate the complete “footprint” of a project, you can get into trouble fast.

Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre of Melbourne, Australia

Trumpeted as the “World’s most sustainable Shopping Centre,” this is another interesting project. According to The Sydney Herald the Burwood Brickworks shopping center won’t quite be a net-positive energy project like Humanscapes. But it will “produce a large chunk of its energy needs.”

But according to Broadsheet Media of Melbourne, it will meet the Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification standards. LBC-certified buildings have zero carbon footprint. They produce zero waste. They provide more electricity and water than they use. And they grow agriculture on 20 per cent of the site. On top of all that, builders use non-toxic and recycled materials

That sounds net-positive to me, but I’ll let them sort it out. It’ll be considerably more eco-friendly than conventional shopping centers, either way. And definitely informed by a sustainability ethos.

Here's an aerial view of the Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre with its garden-intensive green roof.
Designers built the Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia with a “rooftop farm.” It reminds me of the ubiquitous rooftop farming I imagine for the habitat wheels of my fictional Rana Station.

Smart Forest City of Cancun, Mexico

Anyone who follows green innovations knows the architectural firm behind the Smart Forest CityStefano Boeri Architetti is based in Milan, Italy. One of its earlier projects there, the groundbreaking Bosco Verticale, looks a whole lot like the “White Space Tree” I blogged about last May (note Bosco Verticale came first). 

Here's an architect's conception of a canal in Smart Forest City with boats on the clear water and both trees and buildings lining the ban
Canals will run through much of Smart Forest City. They’ll bring water to the agriculture that’ll make the place food-self-sufficient. This picture reminds me of a Solarpunk city design like those of Tyler Edlin or MissOliviaLouise.

Stefano Boeri intends his latest project, the still-in-the-process Smart Forest City, to be “a model for resilient and sustainable urban planning.” The firm is designing it to be “completely food and energy self-sufficient.” Not only net-positive (or at least net-neutral) energy, but able to produce its own food.

I’m flashing on my fictional Rana Station again. Rana is an island in space that is 23 hours away from the nearest planet. Its very survival depends on its self-sufficiency. Therefore, every available space is used for agriculture.

The illustrated quote from William McDonough says, "Sustainability takes forever. And that's the point.

 Smart Forest City takes kind of the same approach. It’ll have green roofs, vertical gardens, and an agricultural belt that surrounds its perimeter. The Mexican project should be able to feed all 130,000 projected residents from its own agriculture. Talk about building with a sustainability ethos!

The photo shows a wide shot, possibly photgraphed from a drone, of the 24 Verde apartment complex, complete with its urban forest, from about a block away and a fairly high vantage point.

A different take on a “urban forest”

The Artdog Image of Interest

I’m focusing on “green” architecture this month. Not only green as environmentally sustainable, but green as in there are lots of plants incorporated into the design. In this case, it’s an urban apartment building that is designed to incorporate a small “forest” of about 50 trees.

This video shares photos and several people’s thoughts about a project called 25 Verde in Turin, Italy. It’s an apartment building designed by architect Luciano Pia.

As a gardener, I definitely understand the concern by the gentleman from the German Green Building Council over the high-maintenance aspects, but it sure is a cool-looking place to live!

VIDEO: Many thanks to international broadcaster Deutche Welle for this YouTube video. I also am grateful to DesignBoom and photographer Beppe Giardino for the featured image.

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