ArchiWEB Explorer: Sustainable building

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Designed for Disassembly: Architecture Built with its Own End in Mind

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

Few of us make plans for our lives with our own deaths in mind, so perhaps it’s not surprising that architects don’t usually spend much of the design process thinking about the virtually inevitable demolition of their creations. It might seem as morbid and premature as college graduates making plans for their own funerals, but considering the entire life cycle of a structure before it’s even built could have a massive impact on the amount of waste we generate – and help us adapt to the uncertain conditions of the future.

Though some buildings and infrastructure may stand for many hundreds of years, the vast majority of it is rendered obsolete in a matter of decades. Practical needs and aesthetic preferences change, and materials wear down. Currently, about 80% of all materials and minerals in circulation in the U.S. economy are consumed by the construction industry, and about 70% of construction waste is concrete.

Systems to Incorporate Natural Lighting in Your Projects

There is nothing more rational than taking advantage of natural lighting as a guarantee to improve the spatial quality of buildings, as well as saving energy. The awareness of the finitude of natural resources and the demands for reducing energy consumption has increasingly diminished the prominence of artificial lighting systems, forcing architects to seek more efficient design solutions. With this goal in mind, different operations have been adopted to capture natural light.

These systems can also guarantee excellent spatial properties if projected correctly. Below we have gathered five essential systems for zenithal lighting.


© Matheus Pereira © Matheus Pereira

Established as horizontal openings strategically positioned on the roofs of buildings, skylights allow the direct entrance of natural light into the internal region of the construction. It commonly receives an application of translucent glass on its upper side, allowing a higher percentage of light into the space. They should be used with care, since they tend to favor the gain of thermal loads in the building, increasing the internal temperature. Therefore, they must be strategically positioned and projected regarding dimensions and sealing materials.

Washington Fruit & Produce Company Headquarters | Yakima, Washington, USA | Berger Partnership

Washington Fruit Produce Company

Washington Fruit Produce Company

The owners of Washington Fruit & Produce set out to establish a bucolic work environment to serve as an elegant representation of the company and their intrinsic connection to the land. Located in Yakima, Washington, surrounded by industrial fruit storage and processing facilities, a simple earthen berm of native plantings wraps the building and envelops employees and visitors. This calming setting provides light-filled upward views of the surrounding hills while screening the nearby industrial activities.

LEED: One Global Standard for a Global Economy

As the barriers to international use of LEED come down, LEED has become the preferred green building standard of the global economy.

New York’s So-Called Greenest Skyscraper Actually Found to Be an Energy Hog

The New Republic, Bank of America Tower, USGBC, LEED certification, 1 Bryant Park, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, New York's greenest building, Al Gore's company, Generation Investment Management, energy intensive buildings in New York

It looks like all that glitters is not LEED Gold (or LEED Platinum in the case of 1 Bryant Park). The NYC skyscraper has been called the greenest in the city but according to a report by The New Republic, the building actually consumes an enormous amount of power that does not coincide with its eco-friendly rep.

Mission Residence: Light-Filled Urban Cabin Rises from the Ashes of San Francisco’s 1906 Earthquake

mission residence, richard johnson design, green design, sustainable design, green architecture, sustainable architecture, renovation, green renovation, remodel, mission district, san francisco, green building, sustainable building, energy-efficiency

San Francisco’s Richard Johnson Design took an aging cottage made of materials salvaged from the 1906 earthquake and transformed it into a gorgeous “urban cabin” that opens up to the outdoors and welcomes in lots of natural light and cooling breezes. The tiny 1500 square foot home feels large and expansive thanks to its 16-foot-tall pitched roof, which is pierced by plentiful skylights and topped with a 2.2 KW solar photovoltaic system. Inhabitat recently had a chance to check out this amazing small space renovation during AIA SF‘s Architecture and the City Festival – read on for a look inside!