Amazon has submitted a proposal for one of their new HQ2 (their 2nd headquarters) buildings in Arlington, Virginia.
The Helix at will include lush gardens and flourishing trees native to the region. A true double helix in shape and structure, this unique building will feature two walkable paths of landscaped terrain that will spiral up the outside of the building, featuring plantings you may find on a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
Earth integrated housing includes underground housing but often opened up a bit to allow more windows. So some of the house is underground, many of the walls are surrounded by earth, but with more room for windows (often by excavating some earth to provide window views).
Obviously they provide good ability to maintain a more pleasant temperature when things get very cold or very warm.
In 1997 two architects set out to rethink Lagos, an African megacity that had been largely abandoned by the state. Amid the apparent chaos and crime, they discovered remarkable patterns of organisation. Two decades later, Rem Koolhaas and Kunlé Adeyemi discuss the past, present and future of the city – and reveal why their own project never saw the light of day
There work is a great example how appropriate technology and architecture can be used to provide for the needs to communities. Here is a longer video on Kunlé Adeyemi efforts:
Creating livable green spaces in the middle of urban sprawl is a great goal. And good work in elevated green spaces has been done in the last 10 years. This image is a rendering of a proposed huge green roofing and park project spanning many buildings (double the size of the current largest green roof).
Rendering of proposed green roof.
The whole development seems pretty spectacular and the huge green roofing concept is very cool. I wonder how likely it is to be developed? The location in the Silicon Valley makes it much more likely it seems to me as there is plenty of money there for extravagance. The entire project is estimated at $3 billion.
The Hills at Vallco’s crown jewel is without a doubt its $3 million 30-acre green roof, an unprecedented engineering feat that’s “at least twice as big as anything attempted before it.” The elevated community park will include 3.8 miles of walking and jogging trails along rolling hills, orchards, vineyards, meadows, organic gardens, children’s play areas, and a sanctuary for native fauna and flora.
On street-level, the new mixed-use neighborhood will feature a highly walkable and bikeable downtown street-grid anchored by two town squares. Parking would be primarily tucked underground and a transit center may be built at the shopping center. The 15-block street grid will be filled with 625,000 square feet of retail, 2 million square feet of office space, and 800 residential units.
I am not sure what the $3 million price tag includes. It sure doesn’t seem like much money given the scope. My guess is it must exclude most of the costs – such as creating the infrastructure for laying the green roof; unless it is much cheaper than I would think.
The development site sits between Apple’s Infinite Loop headquarters and the spaceship-like Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino, California.
We live a chop-wood and grow-your-own-vegetables lifestyle here on the homestead. Instead of working away from home all day to make money to buy food and pay big utility bills we grow a lot of our own food and make our own heat.
SunRay’s organic style seeks to retain the natural shape of trees used in construction. His study of architecture and sculpture only reinforces his affinity for the organic forms found in nature, rejecting the rectilinear, artificial Western method of architecture.
While he was still in college, SunRay’s showed some of his blueprints to an older builder who replied, “Learn to use a hammer, boy, because no one but you is going to be able to build that.” Since then, SunRay has been creating things that “nobody but SunRay could build.” His structures are timeless and give the appearance of being rooted, as though they had sprouted from the forest floor.
This is an interesting idea. It does seem to me the chair is too close to the ground and not exactly comfortable looking, but the idea is neat. And I haven’t actually tried it, maybe it is more comfortable than it looks.
Solar is a great source of passive heating and can be used actively for electricity and in ways such as hot water panels that circulate water to heat the house. These solutions don’t always work in a given situation but when they do they can be very attractive.
One common heating method in the past (and still used a fair amount) is oil tanks. Before that we had coal heating for houses. The house I grew up in had such a system (taken out long before I moved in, but remnants of it were still visible) where coal was poured down a shoot, at ground level, into a basement room with the furnace.
Then the coal was heated and I believe water was heated and sent to radiators to warm the house. This was no longer in place, so I am guessing; when I moved in the house had a furnace using gas to heat air and that was sent to warm the rooms upstairs. I remember sitting by the vents where the air would be warm.
Normally oil tanks are used for heating in areas that don’t have natural gas utility lines available. That is often rural areas but also areas that just never had gas lines put in. Heating using house-hold oil tanks is quite common in the North East United States even today. Delivery trucks connect to the house and pump in oil – very similar to what old coal delivery truck did (and in many houses in the North East they probably had trucks delivering coal before converting to oil).
Why should I consider removing my Underground Storage Tank (UST)?
Approximately 50% of 275-gallon 12 gauge steel tanks are estimated to develop leaks within 15 years, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Many older underground home heating tanks were never designed to withstand long-term exposure to soil and water. Even steel tanks that were specifically designed for underground use can leak if they do not have adequate corrosion protection. Home heating oil storage tank leaks can be very damaging to the environment and leaking petroleum products may contaminate the groundwater. Toxic ingredients such as benzene, toluene or xylene threaten human health by poisoning the environment and may require costly cleanup.
This webcast looks at this demonstration project (at the International Building Exhibition IBA 2013 in Hamburg, Germany) using algae filled window panes to provide passive solar and active solar. Passive solar is achieved as the algae grow quickly under direct sunlight and thereby produce share for the building. Active solar is achieved by using the biomass of the algae for energy.
The algae use photo synthesis to grow and create biomass. The water also is heated up by the sun and that heat energy is captured to be used also. The algae window panes are moveable in order to provide shade and better capture sunlight.
This is a speculative project. It is interesting to see the various alternatives to reducing our use of un-renewable energy and using design to create livable spaces.
The building currently reduces overall energy needs by 50%, and Wurm says 100% is achievable. Combined with solar panels to power the pumps and heat exchangers, the building could be completely self-sufficient.
Wurm says we’re likely to see the first full-blown commercial applications on data centers, which of course are particularly energy hungry, and require a lot of cooling. That’s another advantage of algae: it provides natural shading as it absorbs sunlight.
It seems up front costs may mean this isn’t economically viable yet. But we need to keep experimenting to find solutions that work. Also, the current failure to properly count for the negative externalities of fossil fuel is something that must change.