Plans for World’s Largest Green Roof in Silicon Valley

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).

image rendering of proposed green roof spanning multiple buildings

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.

World’s largest green roof unveiled in the heart of Silicon Valley

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.

Related: The Benefits of Green RoofsUniversity of California, Berkeley: 2010 Livable Buildings AwardsWonderful Low Impact Woodland House with a Green Roof

Rustic Homestead Community

SunRay Kelly has created an interesting collection of 7 natural homes on the homestead in 2nd growth forest at the base of Cultus Mountain in Washington, USA.

room looking out picture walls to forest

Garden House by Sunray

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.

exterior view of Sky House

Sky House by Sunray

Skyhouse includes a greenhouse as part of the house.

About SunRay

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.

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Using Algae Filled Window Panes to Provide Passive and Active Solar

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 BIQ algae-powered building has been operating for over a year. It’s faring well so far

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.

Related: Benefits of Green RoofsDo It Yourself Solar Furnace for Home HeatingGreen Building with Tire BalesWonderful Low Impact Woodland House

Monastery of Saint Simon (Cave Church), Cairo, Egypt

This is a beautiful space for a church.

photo of the inside of 'cave church'

Cave Church theater by vagabondblogger

Monastery of Saint Simon, also known as the Cave Church, is located in the Mokattam “mountain” in southeastern Cairo, Egypt. Simon the Tanner lived in Egypt, during the end of the 10th century. Saint Simon worked in tanning, a craft still practiced there today.

photo of the Church of Virgin Mary

Church of Virgin Mary and Saint Simon by vagabondblogger

The main Cathedral at the site is named after the Virgin Mary and Saint Simon. The Coptic Cathedral is actually quite new. It was constructed in 2 main phases during 1986 and 1994.

The Monastery of St. Simon is on the west bank of the Nile behind the Zabbaleen village. In 1969 the governor of Cairo decided to move all of the garbage collectors to the Mokattam and many still live there.

Related: More details on Tour Egypt web siteWonderful Low Impact Woodland HouseEgytian Statue in Front of the The Temple of Dendur at the Met in NYCGiza Pyramids