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Posts Tagged ‘housing’

Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit (SUDU)

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on February 8th, 2012

From “The Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit (SUDU)” on No Tech Magazine:

The ‘Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit’ (SUDU) in Ethiopia demonstrates that it is possible to construct multi-storey buildings using only soil and stone. By combining timbrel vaults and compressed earth blocks, there is no need for steel, reinforced concrete or even wood to support floors, ceilings and roofs. The SUDU could be a game-changer for African cities, where population grows fast and building materials are scarce.

In “Tiles as a substitute for steel“, we highlighted the medieval art of the medieval timbrel vault, which allowed for structures that today no architect would dare to build without steel reinforcements. The technique is cheap, fast, ecological and durable. Shortly after the article was published in 2008, the timbrel vault made a comeback with two rather spectacular buildings: Richard Hawkes’ Crossway Passive House in England, and Peter Rich’s Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre in South Africa.

The cardboard formwork technique described last week promises to bring even more dramatic architecture, but at least as interesting is the news that the catalan vault is now also applied to a much more modest form of housing: the Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit (SUDU), a low-cost family dwelling built in Ethiopia.

Though less spectacular at first sight, it could form the proof that even megacities can be constructed without the use of steel, concrete or wood.

The double-story building, which was completed in last summer, is entirely made from soil and presents an economical and ecological solution to many of Africa’s most urgent problems. The SUDU stands in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a country with a population of more than 80 million (growing at an average 7 percent per year). The building is a joint project of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC).

The SUDU combines past technologies from different continents, resulting in a new approach to low-tech construction adapted to specific local conditions. In the Mediterranean region, where the timbrel vault originated, the tiles have traditionally been made from fired clay. In the SUDU, the construction technique is united with the African tradition of cement-stabilized, soil-pressed bricks, which use locally available soil. This technique is called compressed earth block (CEB) construction. The SUDU has been built largely following the same techniques used for the Mapungubwe Centre in South Africa.

Read the full article to find out more about resource pressures and engineering details.


Breathing Architecture: Exhibition

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on January 24th, 2012

WOHA – BUILDING FOR VERTICAL GARDEN CITIES

Some of their structures remind us of bold visions of the future, in which plants reclaim nature for themselves. WOHA realize the permeation of buildings and landscape, of interiors and exteriors in projects such as the Singapore School of the Arts and the seminal residential high-rise The Met in Bangkok, which received the International Highrise Award 2010.

WOHA is represented by Mun Summ Wong and Richard Hassell as directors of the architectural office based in Singapore. They made their name in Asia in the late 1990s with open, single-family dwellings suitable for the tropics. Today they mainly design high-rises and large structures: a mega residential park in India, office and hotel towers in Singapore that lend a new, vertical dimension to green landscapes. Air-conditioning is merely an additional feature for these open structures, because the building structure itself provides the cooling. Natural lighting is standard, solar modules harvest energy for use in the buildings; water for domestic purposes and rainwater are reused.

Topics such as creating value added through communal areas and permeability for climate and nature will be presented in WOHA’s first monographic exhibition using examples of open tropical family homes, green high-rises and projects still in the completion phase.

The exhibition, split in the four chapters Permeable Houses, Open School and Community Buildings, Porous Towers and Perforated Hotels and Resorts, showcases 19 of WOHA’s most important projects in large-format photos and plans, project texts, digital images and models.

WOHA’s permeable architecture is influenced by South-East Asian culture and the location of their office in the city state of Singapore; 130 kilo metres north of the Equator, where temperatures all the year round are about 32°c, falling at night to 23°c, and where particularly heavy rain falls during the monsoon months.

Exhibition Details:

2 December 2011 – 29 April 2012
Deutsches Architekturmuseum DAM
Schaumaninkai 43, Frankfurt am Main

If, like me, you can’t get there, check out some of the images on the DAM site.

 

 


Health & Housing Flexibility: Prefabricated ‘wet rooms’

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 6th, 2011

Source: Australian Design Review


Photo: Healthabitat

From Maitiú Ward’s “Interview: Healthabitat’s Paul Pholeros“:

Since 1999, Healthabitat has completed 184 projects in remote and impoverished communities, improving the condition of 7308 houses for over 42,000 people. Formally established in 1994, the organisation has a history that stretches back to 1985, when its three directors Dr Paul Torzillo, Stephan Rainow and Paul Pholeros first met in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, north-west South Australia, where they had been thrown together to work with a team of local Aboriginal people to help improve local health and housing conditions. Since that first meeting, the trio has gone on to orchestrate a slew of research programs, lauded not only for the wealth of hard data they have produced, but also for genuinely improving conditions.

[…]

For a number of years, Adrian Welke of Troppo Architects has been working with Healthabitat in the design and construction of health buildings in remote areas. It was with Welke that Healthabitat first starting exploring the potential of prefabrication as a means of delivering high quality buildings, efficiently.

Welke’s most recent project with Healthabitat is a prefabricated wet room unit, designed to be ‘clipped on’ to the back of existing residential buildings. Containing shower, laundry and toilet, the unit addresses the top three of the nine healthy living practices – ‘washing people’, ‘washing clothes’ and ‘waste removal’. As a prefabricated unit it is also a very efficient means of delivering what are traditionally the most expensive components of a residence (the laundry, toilet and bathing areas). In keeping with Healthabitat’s modus operandi, then, the project focuses resources in areas where they are likely to have the most impact, and after a successful prototyping stage, units are now rapidly being deployed to indigenous communities across Australia.

[…]

Read the full interview by Maitiú Ward.

Healthabitat’s Housing for Health program recently won the 2011 World Habitat Awards.  Read more here.


Small Smart Infill: Secondary Dwellings

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 13th, 2011

Via Sustainable Cities Collective


Photo by Pembleton via flickr CC

From “How garage & basement apartments help people, neighborhoods and the environment” by Kaid Benfield:

One of the best ways to accommodate growth (as we must) without either exacerbating sprawl or disturbing the character of existing communities is by using so-called “accessory units” – secondary dwellings attached to a main home, such as garage and basement apartments. Sometimes these are called “granny flats” or “in-law suites” because of their usefulness to house extended family members while giving them the privacy that comes with having their own, separate entarnces and homes. For the primary homeowner, it can also be an excellent source of income to help pay for the mortgage or other needs. For the neighborhood, it brings in a mixture of housing types and price points, adding variety and affordability while preserving architectural character. It also helps people “age in place” as their housing needs shrink without having to leave their neighborhoods. Municipal planners are taking note: Vancouver, for example, promotes “laneway housing” facing alleys as part of its “EcoDensity” program; Seattle encourages “backyard cottages.”

[…]

Read the full article by Kaid Benfield for more on this, a related article in USA Today, and info about a new book called In-Laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats.


Straw-Bale Council Housing

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 28th, 2011

Source: guardian.co.uk


ModCell makes sustainable, prefabricated straw bales and sets up a ‘flying factory’ in a space such as a farmyard where wall panels for homes can be assembled close to where they are needed.” Click through to see the image gallery on the Guardian.

Two local councils in the UK have chosen to build straw-bale council houses, in order to decrease domestic GHG emissions.  The houses are extremely well-insulated, potentially reducing residents’ heating costs to 20 percent of those of conventional homes, and helping address the issue of fuel scarcity.  The straw-bale homes are built using locally produced hay-bales, and they achieve a higher fire safety rating than the required standards.

Read the full article by Cath Harris in the Guardian.


ReFit West: Retrofitting Existing Homes Update

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on April 21st, 2011

Source: Forum for the Future


Image from the Refit West Update

Forum for the Future has published a new guide on retrofitting owner-occupied homes, intended to inform the development of a nationally viable scheme. Refit West: Update from the front line – real homeowner retrofit journeys and barriers the Green Deal must overcome gives policy makers, key energy sector players, and domestic carbon reduction professionals, valuable results from a live pilot retrofitting scheme.

The report provides a number of key insights into the homeowner experience and outlines the information required at each stage of the retrofitting journey. Based on the lessons learnt from a Bristol-based pilot project, we have been working with actual homeowners as they carried out energy efficiency works to their homes. It presents a number of recommendations that will need to be in place to ensure successful take up of the Green Deal.

We believe that the key to developing a nationally viable retrofitting scheme lies in empowering and supporting individuals as they make decisions and commission works to their homes. A flexible and people-centred approach, delivering a positive experience for early adopters and recognising and valuing the work carried out, is essential for any larger retrofitting programme to succeed.

Scaling up any retrofitting scheme will need to take account of three key elements: providing appropriate financial incentives to refit houses; creating demand from homeowners; and ensuring there is a workforce with the skills to carry it out.

Download the report ‘Update from the front line: real homeowner retrofit journeys and barrier to Green Deal must overcome’ or visit the Refit West Project site.


Second Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference

Posted in Events by Devin Maeztri on June 17th, 2009

Reclaiming Vacant Properties

Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference is organized by the National Vacant Properties Campaign.
Press Release of the conference can be downloaded from Smart Growth Around America.

“The National Vacant Properties Campaign was created in 2003 to help communities prevent, manage, and successfully redevelop vacant and abandoned properties – all to create more vibrant, thriving neighborhoods. We believe that such efforts yield more affordable housing opportunities, major fiscal and economic development benefits, and reduced threats to our public health, safety, and the environment. The Campaign is led by Smart Growth America, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, and the Genesee Institute.”
To find out more about the campaign visit National Vacant Properties Campaign.


An Effort to Save Flint, Mich., by Shrinking It

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on May 4th, 2009

This article discusses a new way of dealing with cities and sustainability – planned shrinkage. Orginal article by David Streitfeld published in The New York Times.

Shrinking Flint, Mich.

“Planned shrinkage became a workable concept in Michigan a few years ago, when the state changed its laws regarding properties foreclosed for delinquent taxes. Before, these buildings and land tended to become mired in legal limbo, contributing to blight. Now they quickly become the domain of county land banks, giving communities a powerful tool for change.”

To read more of the article visit The New York Times