Swoon

This Earth-inspired project by Tres Birds Workshop is a 7,000 sf private artist’s residency that uses 100% renewable resources, demonstrating fossil-free potential of the built environment. Four vertical geothermal wells were installed to transfer the Earth’s energy to the building’s heating and cooling system. A solar electric roof on the carport generates energy for interior LED lighting and electricity. To test the energy efficiency of the structure, a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) was performed, ranking it in the 74th percentile and exceeding code requirements by three times.

The structure was built using 200 tons of rammed Earth, a composite of regional dirt and pigments, compressed into 30” thick walls. This adds significant thermal mass to the building’s whole, optimal for temperature regulation. Bearing the structural load, these dense walls allow the space to exist free from obstructions, ideal for a simplified interior and exhibiting artwork.

More information at tresbirds.com/SWOON

Glendale Childcare Center

Located in Glendale, California, the 23,000 square-foot childcare facility, designed by Marmol Radziner, accommodates 236 children between infant and Pre-K ages. The complex is the first LEED Gold Certified building in Glendale, and is the largest rammed earth building in Southern California. The sustainable strategies incorporated into the building, including photovoltaic panel canopies and structural rammed earth walls, are key visual and tactile elements in the design, emphasizing the facility as both a learning environment and an educational tool.

Lacey Residence

The Lacey Residence, by Jones Studio, is a 4,000 sq ft private residence located in Paradise Valley, AZ.

The site slopes in three directions; it is a desert knoll. Linear forms, assuming they are long enough, will inherently emphasize the shape of the landscape by contrasting a level parapet with the sloping topography.

Fortunately the program included a lap pool. This linear permission slip completed the third topographic axis, and finds directional purpose in its alignment with the 6 million year old Papago Peak three miles away; and the centerline of the main entry door!

According to the architects, there is a beautiful honesty in relinquishing architecture to the uncompromising reality of nature. If the intentions are sincere the architecture will only get better.

Saint Bartholomew’s Chapel

Saint Bartholomew’s Chapel, by Kevin deFreitas Architects, is located in the picturesque back country of northern San Diego County at the base of Mt. Palomar alongside the San Luis Rey River. A very small and intimate historic chapel was destroyed by wild fires that ravaged the reservation in late 2007 and only the original adobe bell tower survived, which became the anchor element in the redesign planning of the new church. The needs of the current congregation and community had changed quite a bit in the past 100 years. Though the fire destroyed a building that hosted many, many important events and celebrations, it also presented a “blank slate” opportunity to update the facility, primarily by doubling the seating capacity.

[ More at ArchDaily.com ]

Adobe for Women

Adobe for Women is a non-profit association, founded in 2011, whose goal is the recovery and education of earth construction techniques; this is our contribution to a more human and sustainable use of space and the planet’s resources. The goal of this Project is to build 20 sustainable houses in the indigenous village of San Juan Mixtepec, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

The houses are intended for 20 women in difficult circumstances who will participate in the building process. They will slowly appropriate their future home and simultaneously re find their self esteem, work abilities and hope that will transform the spaces into safe, caring places for their families.
The houses are energy efficient and built with local materials such as adobe and bamboo.

[via Treehugger.com]

Juana Briones House Demolished

The Juana Briones House, a rare example of encajonado construction, parts of which were built in 1844, has been completely torn down by property owner Jaim Nulman, who fought off historic preservationists, latino activists, and descendants of Briones for years. Feminists joined in the struggle for the home’s preservation as well. Jeanne McDonnell, biographer of Juana Briones, stated that historic buildings associated with women are more likely to be demolished than those associated with men.

Windcatcher House

The Begay home is Design Build Bluff’s first project since opening the door to more universities. The students of architecture of the University of Colorado Denver designed a home that responds to a sustainable ethos by using local clay and soils for rammed earth walls and compressed brick for a wind catching chimney which cools the temperature inside during the high summer temperatures. The Windcatcher House, which is totally off-grid and harvests all its water, features an innovative wind tower designed to capture the wind to cool the house.

The Windcatcher House includes local clay for its hand-built compressed brick, as well as the south- and east-facing wall facades. Thermal mass cools the home during the hot, dry summers, and soaks up heat during the very frigid winters. Rainwater is collected from the adjacent carport’s roof and gets reused for the garden.

As with all Navajo Nation homes, this house is nowhere near a power grid, which makes relying on the surrounding earth even more useful and important. The Begays don’t have a car, so they plan to use the carport for an animal barn.

more [ inhabit | university of colorado | green investing ]

Holy Cross Church Restored

Church of the Holy Cross, also known as the Holy Cross Episcopal Church, is an historic church in Stateburg, in the High Hills of Santee near Sumter, South Carolina. It is located on land donated earlier by General Thomas Sumter, a resident of Stateburg, and its walls were constructed of rammed earth. Its 2-foot-thick walls were erected in 1852 by using wooden forms to hold local clay as laborers, probably slaves, tamped it down with a special tool, forcing out the water.

Dr. W.W. Alexander, head of the church’s 19th century building committee at the time, had been experimenting successfully with this construction method at his plantation home just across the highway. While the center section is 18th century wooden construction, the two wings were built of rammed earth, or Pise de Terre.

The Church of Holy Cross needed a significant renovation after termites were discovered in the sacristy in 2001. The $1.6 million restoration, paid for in part with a $250,000 Save America’s Treasures grant, replaced major sections of the termite-damaged trusses and roof panels, as well as the floor panels.

Oaxaca School of Plastic Arts by Mauricio Rocha

The Oaxaca School of Plastic Arts was designed by Taller de Arquitectura—Mauricio Rocha at the request of artist Francisco Toledo, in collaboration with the Benito Juárez University. An important premise incorporated into the project was the presence on the plot of land of a Mixtec ball game, used on weekends by players.

Several campus construction project occurring at the same time made available a tremendous amount of earth, inspiring Rocha to construct several of the buildings within complex out of rammed earth. This enhanced the quality of the exterior courtyards and created a comfortable micro-climate within the building optimal for Oaxaca. Other buildings are made of stone and create a series of inhabitable terraces.

Exterior courtyards suggest a floor layout in the shape of a chessboard, where the alternation between mass and space in the walkways creates a variety of views and paths.

Read more about The Oaxaca School of Plastic Arts.