Toronto is to become home to a ten-storey building that creates a self-sustaining community, an ice-skating rink in Russia features photovoltaic cells which help it operate throughout the year and San Francisco-based Shiyu Guo has designed a planter and a
Toronto is to become home to The Plant, a ten-storey condominium building that creates a self-sustaining, self-reliant residential community.
Food-focused amenities include an internal greenhouse/nursery to grow plants and cultivate seeds, as well as an industrial-style kitchen designed to accommodate food preparation and host social events.
The development also features retail and office spaces on the first and second floors, along with residential units so that occupants can comfortably live, work and grow in one place.
Curated Properties and Windmill Developments are working together on the project on a former bakery site.
Adam Ochshorn, partner at Curated Properties, said: “When you consider two-thirds of all humans will soon be city-dwellers, having to choose between an urban residence or the ability to comfortably grow your herbs and vegetables no longer makes sense.”
Designers hope to recruit like-minded businesses and office tenants that will amplify The Plant’s dedication to sustainability and reinforce a project-wide lifestyle.
A total of 77 residential units are planned. Inside each suite, custom micro-garden beds for fresh herbs will be built into sidecars in the kitchen.
The suites themselves are wide and shallow, as opposed to the typical shoe box, maximising sun exposure. Each unit will come with a terrace or balcony with ample space for plants, furniture and a barbecue. Outdoor space is optimised through an angular construction, enabling sunlight to flow unimpeded into the suites.
Jonathan Westeinde, CEO of Windmill, added: “The balconies and terraces at The Plant are really more like an eight-storey porch.
“They have their own structure, with railings and lattices, as well as a thermal break. So not only are they large and spacious, but they’re orientated to work with the sun and encourage plant life to take hold.”
WOOD YOU BELIEVE IT
Ford is stepping up research into the use of bamboo in its range of vehicles.
Company officials believe it is very possible that some interior surfaces in cars could be made from a combination of plastic and what has been called ‘nature’s wonder material’.
Janet Yin, a materials engineering supervisor at Ford’s Nanjing Research & Engineering Centre, said: “Bamboo is amazing. It’s strong, flexible, totally renewable, and plentiful in China and many other parts of Asia.”
Ford has discovered that bamboo performs comprehensively better than other synthetic and natural fibres in a range of materials tests looking at characteristics from tensile strength to impact strength.
It has also been heated to more than 100 degrees Celcius to ensure it can maintain its integrity.
Ford already uses several sustainable materials including Kenaf, a tropical plant from the cotton family, which can be found in the door bolsters of the Ford Escape, while postconsumer cotton from denim and T-shirts is used as interior padding and sound insulation in most Ford vehicles.
Other sustainable initiatives include the use of recycled plastic bottles which are transformed into floor carpeting, and recycled post-consumer tyres which are turned into seals and gaskets.
Otunba Offices, a new low-cost and sustainable office building currently under construction in the Nigerian capital of Lagos, has been commended in the Architectural Review MIPIM Future Projects Awards.
Designed by Beirut-based Domaine Public Architects, it features a reduced building footprint – less than 20 per cent of horizontal coverage – which helps preserve the natural landscape, with unbuilt surfaces allowing for excess rainwater absorption.
The building’s orientation means it naturally shades itself from the tropical sun on its western and southern façades.
A dual layer of vegetation, flexible louvers and natural ventilation based on site orientation minimise the project’s ecological footprint and reliance on mechanical systems for cooling.
Karim Fakhry, international principal at Domaine Public Architects, said: “The Otunba project truly serves as an affordable, sustainable model for construction in fast economic growth settings.
“It emphasises economical sustainable concepts [and is] easily replicated with minimal financial impact on project budget.”
The front end of a 1950s vintage Willys Jeep has been transformed into a striking office desk by English company Smithers of Stamford.
It comes complete with two working headlights and two drawers made from reclaimed wooden teak.
The desk is described as “very robust… it’s lasted 60-odd years in a scrap yard and with the upcycling will last another 60 years.”
Smithers of Stamford is an online vintage, industrial, retro furniture and lighting store “born out of a passion for Lambrettas, retro clothing, soul music and many visits to Carnaby Street and Brick Lane, London.”
Sprout is a planter and air freshener powered by an elastic thin-film solar panel.
Invented by San Francisco-based industrial designer Raymond (Shiyu Guo), it also aims to give children an idea of how plants filter carbon dioxide and produce clean air.
The ‘leaf’ of the sprout is composed of intelligent elastic material and covered by a solar panel; it also features a light sensor.
Air is absorbed into the sprout from the middle hole of the leaf, while fresh air is released from the outlet to the plant.
The plant shakes because of the flow of fresh air and the leaf closes when darkness falls, becoming dormant because of the lack of sunlight.
ICE AND EASY
An ice-skating rink located on a natural lake in the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia features photovoltaic cells which help it operate throughout the year.
Designed by Margot Krasojević, the solar panels are attached to a canopy accommodating lighting and cinema projector outlets, and generate an electric current which helps freeze the lake for ice hockey tournaments.
This power is also utilised through the provision of charging and docking stations, with unused energy being fed back into the grid.
The solar cinema is home to an entirely self-sufficient projector which can throw images onto the ice-covered surfaces of the skating rink, animating the design and presenting it as an all-year, all-seasons sports and wellness centre.
Capacitors store electrical energy for nighttime use while geothermal turbines generate enough electricity to be powered back into the grid, ensuring an eco-friendly ice-skating rink.