Posts tagged with "environmental architecture":

Dutch Architects Propose Floating Island Made of Recycled Plastic

Considering how much trash Baltimore's solar-powered Trash Interceptor scoops out of the city's harbor—50,000 pounds a day!—these floating islands made from found plastic waste might just stand a chance. With the support of the Creative Industries Firm NL, WHIM Architecture is developing a prototype of their project, the recycled island, built primarily from recycled plastic waste gathered from the North Pacific gyre and the North Sea. The prototype seeks to first try out the concept at a small scale by building a floating house surrounded by plants. This “floating villa” will test the durability and practicality of plastic as a building material and be the test that determines whether the recycled island idea is plausible. There are four chief aspects of the prototype island: the platform, the balustrade, the roof, and the external wall. According to information provided by WHIM, the platform will be composed of hollow plastic blocks covered with vegetation while the balustrade will be made of hollow plastic blocks filled with soil to support the aforementioned vegetation. Both the roof and the walls will be made of blocks filled with non-recyclable waste. While the designers are currently working on a prototype island of a smaller size, the actual recycled island would be approximately the size of Hawaii’s main island. This rather sizeable floating island will sit on the Maas River in Rotterdam and act as a station to collect waste before it empties out into the North Sea. The repurposing of plastic waste would then give the litter new economic value and may encourage people to hold onto their trash rather than improperly throw it away. Therefore the recycled island may help combat pollution and waste problems on two fronts: one by collecting waste and building with it and another by discouraging people from littering.

Ice Cream Freezer Reinvented as Santa Fe Architecture Office

Santa Fe, New Mexico–based architecture firm WAMO Studio recently moved into a cool new office—a former walk-in ice cream freezer. The repurposed space, formerly used by Taos Cow Ice Cream to store frozen treats. The 550-square-foot freezer offers a sleek and industrial space with sheet metal walls and industrial-strength insulation. After a few adjustments, WAMO has transformed it from a frigid container to a viable workspace. Partner and architect, Vahid Mojarrab, described the space to the Santa Fe New Mexican as “a perfect fit” for the husband-and-wife architecture company, which specializes in energy-efficient and high-performance design. Mojarrab and his wife, Carol Ware, had been searching for office space for their joint venture since he split from his former architecture partnership earlier this year. When a friend from Taos Cow mentioned a vacant freezer for lease on the ice cream company’s property, WAMO Studio realized the conversion easily: cutting holes for three windows and a door, removing the freezer’s compressor, and adding a heat pump for temperature control. Mojarrab is excited to reveal that the unit is about 50 percent more energy efficient than a common office space because of the insulated sheet metal construction that served its original purpose. Finding a way to recycle current architecture while improving its energy efficiency is something he believes affects the inhabitants of a building as well as its proprietor. “[E]ventually, the tenant pays for it,” he told the New Mexican. “At the end of the year, your landlord comes to you and says, ‘Your utility bill is so high I have to raise your rent.’” The rest of the Taos Cow property, including two separate walk-in freezers, is still dedicated to ice cream storage. With the majority of the original structure, including the freezer door, intact, the office of WAMO Studio blends inconspicuously into its surroundings. WAMO Studio is dedicated to environmentally conscious and site sensitive architecture. They are currently focused on Passive House certified endeavors.