Desert sand could offer low-carbon concrete alternative

A team of scientists in the UK have developed a low-carbon construction material using desert sand that could take pressure off increasingly scarce natural resources.  The group from Imperial College London have invented a composite material called Finite that is as strong as concrete, but has half the carbon footprint, and is fully biodegradable. Desert sand

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Paris garden skyscraper by SOM will be “one of the most sustainable buildings in Europe”

Skidmore Owings and Merrill has proposed a 180-metre skyscraper in Paris that is designed to be zero-energy, and accessible via a garden bridge leading from the River Seine. The international architecture firm is part of the team that launched a masterplan for the Charenton-Bercy project at property event MIPIM in Cannes this week. Led by urban

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Plantagon designs office block containing a 60-metre-high urban farm

Our latest Dezeen x MINI Living video features a proposal for an office tower that doubles as a vertical farm, by Swedish architecture firm Plantagon. Called the World Food Building, the project is currently under construction in the Swedish town of Linköping and is due to be completed in 2020. Half of the 60-metre-tall building will be

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Wind farms and man-made island in the North Sea could help Europe meet renewable energy targets

A man-made island surrounded by wind farms in the middle of the North Sea could help bring large-scale renewable energy to Europe by 2050. Dutch energy company TenneT claims its plans for the North Sea Wind Power Hub has the potential to supply 70 to 100 million Europeans with renewable energy in just over 30

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Garage House by Foomann Architects can be used for car parking or adaptable accommodation

Corrugated-metal cladding contrasts with an angled white-painted brick wall at this robust and economical house in Melbourne, which features a ground-floor living area that can be used alternatively as a garage. Local studio Foomann Architects designed the house for clients who purchased a site occupied at its opposite end by another property in which they

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Kieran Timberlake completes £75 million “crystalline cube” for US Embassy in London

Kieran Timberlake has completed work on the US Embassy in London, a glass cube swathed in shimmering sails of plastic that is set on a plinth and surrounded by a moat-like pond on the edge of the River Thames. The Philadelphia-based firm won the competition to design an embassy to embody the “ideals of the American government”

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Core Collective designs Sunnybanks House to withstand wild weather in rural Tasmania

Architecture practice Core Collective has completed a house in Tasmania featuring a robust material palette of concrete, steel, masonry and timber that complements its rural seaside setting. Core Collective, which is based in the Australian island state’s capital Hobart, designed Sunnybanks House for a retired couple who left Sydney to enjoy a rural lifestyle in

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Qatar’s shipping-container football stadium can be taken apart and reassembled after the match

Modified shipping containers are being used to construct Fenwick Iribarren Architects’ Ras Abu Aboud stadium in Doha for the controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. The Spanish architecture practice’s modular design means the stadium can be dismantled and moved to a new location after the football tournament. Repurposed steel containers will be arranged in an “elegant curved square” and each will

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Light Earth Designs creates sustainable cricket pavilion of self-supporting parabolic roofs

Three vaulted structures built using compressed soil-cement tiles form a canopy at this cricket pavilion in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, which looks out across the ground and a wetland valley. The pavilion for the Rwanda Cricket Stadium was developed by a British collective called Light Earth Designs that explores sustainable approaches to architecture and urban

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People’s Pavilion “has almost no ecological footprint” say designers

Bureau SLA and Overtreders W used only borrowed or recycled materials to create this Dutch Design Week pavilion, which was the venue for Dezeen’s Good Design for a Bad World talk series. The People’s Pavilion is designed to promote the value of a closed-loop, or “circular”, construction system, which involves thinking beyond the life of the

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Eight designs that respond to the threat of climate change

As part of Good Design for a Bad World, a series of talks we are hosting with Dutch Design Week, we will ask whether designers can help to solve climate change. Here are eight ideas already developed. Taking place in Eindhoven on 21 and 22 October, Good Design for a Bad World will examine five global issues

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Pinecone-shaped treehouse in the Dolomites allows visitors to sleep under the stars

A circular skylight in the tip of this pinecone-shaped treehouse by architect Claudio Beltrame in the Italian Alps allows the occupant to gaze up into the starry sky at night. The structure located in the town of Ugovizza in the Dolomites is available as a holiday let. Italian architect Claudio Beltrame created the treehouse in the shape of a

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Foster + Partner’s Bloomberg headquarters is the “world’s most sustainable office”

The first photos have been released of Norman Forster’s newly completed European headquarters for Bloomberg in London, which claims to be the world’s most sustainable office building. British firm Foster + Partners designed Bloomberg Place for the New York-based media company to score highly against the BREEAM environmental assessment method. The building, which features a facade covered in rows

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Clare Cousins Architects creates first carbon-positive home in Australia’s Victoria

This timber-clad residence designed by Australian firms Clare Cousins Architects and The Sociable Weaver is the first home in the Australian state of Victoria to achieve a “10 Star” energy rating. Boasting a carbon-positive accreditation, the Cape Paterson-based 10 Star Home has been constructed using zero waste and building biology philosophies to earn it a 10 Star energy rating, after which it

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Richard Pender and Dan Kerr combine local materials at self-built Shawm house

Richard Pender was involved in every stage of this self-build project to create a sustainable and accessible house for his parents in rural Northumberland, which involved fabricating the wooden frame on site in a disused barn. Pender’s parents previously resided in a traditional farmhouse and wanted to continue living on the same site, but needed

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Munarq Arquitectes uses sandstone, cork, ceramic bricks and wicker to build solar-powered winery in Majorca

Cork-insulated roofs help create a stable temperature for wine production inside this solar-powered winery in Majorca by Munarq Arquitectes, which also features a sandstone exterior and wicker sunshades. Pau Munar and Rafel Munar of Mallorca-based Munarq Arquitectes were asked to design the 1,300-square-metre space for the Son Juliana wine company, which needed a facility that could produce 40,000 litres of wine each year.

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Stefano Boeri designs “vertical forest” city to eat up China’s smog

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has unveiled plans for a city near China’s Liuzhou, featuring towers completely covered in trees and plants to combat air pollution. The Liuzhou Forest City will feature nearly 40,000 trees and almost one million plants, comprising 100 different species. The greenery is designed to trail over balconies and the roofs of a series of skyscrapers spanning 175 hectares along the

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Kengo Kuma reveals plant-covered Eco-Luxury Hotel for Paris

Plants will spill out between the overlapping wooden blocks that make up the facade of this hotel, which Kengo Kuma & Associates has unveiled for a site on the left bank of Paris’ river Seine. Kengo Kuma’s wanted the design of the Eco-Luxury Hotel to bring an abundance of greenery to the development in the Paris Rive Gauche neighbourhood. In addition to the heavy

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Sigurd Larsen designs affordable homes for eco-housing development near Copenhagen

Berlin-based architect Sigurd Larsen designed these two larch-clad homes as a sustainable and affordable model for an “organic” housing development in Hvalsø, Denmark. The Danish but Berlin-based architect created the homes for a sustainable housing development called Frikøbing, which is located around 60 kilometres inland from Copenhagen. The affordable typologies, which cost approximately 15,000 DKK (£1,745) per square metre,

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Leers Weinzapfel completes America’s first cross-laminated timber academic building

The University of Massachusetts Amherst’s new design school is the first academic building in the US to have a structural frame made of cross-laminated timber, according to its architects Leers Weinzapfel Associates. The Design Building is situated within the university’s campus in the city of Amherst, in central Massachusetts. It is the first cross-laminated timber

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Mountain landscapes inform peaked roof of NBBJ’s Nanjing exhibition centre

Skylights top eight angular peaks on the roof of this exhibition centre in the Chinese city of Nanjing by architecture firm NBBJ, funnelling natural light down into the interior. The Nanjing Eco-Tech Island Exhibition Centre was designed by NBBJ as part of a masterplan that will see an island in the Yangtze River transformed into a sustainable park and

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Buro Koray Duman adds barn-like gallery to artist’s residence in Upstate New York

New York firm Buro Koray Duman has taken cues from vernacular agricultural structures for the first-phase expansion of an artist’s foundation. A home, studio and exhibition space for a prominent American artist and photographer form the small compound on a 250-acre (101-hectare) plot in the Catskills region of New York state. Buro Koray Duman Architects, winners

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Zaha Hadid Architects reveals greenhouse-like technology hub to accompany world’s first wooden football stadium

Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled a set of glasshouse-like technology buildings and a slatted-timber footbridge, which will join its wooden football stadium on a eco park in Gloucestershire, England. The humpbacked bridge will span a motorway to link the two parts of the Eco Park near the town of Stroud: one area dedicated to sports and another for technology. The

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MVRDV wraps glass facade of Rotterdam house around a mature olive tree

Two tiers of glazing sweep around a stout olive tree in the back garden of this Rotterdam residence by MVRDV, contrasting with the almost windowless brick walls that face the street and neighbouring houses. Rotterdam-based MVRDV gave the 480-square-metre property its dual appearance to provide privacy for the occupants of Casa Kwantes, which occupies the corner plot on

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Stefano Boeri reveals plans for tree-covered towers in Nanjing

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has unveiled plans for a “vertical forest” in China, a pair of towers covered with trees and trailing plants in the centre of Nanjing. Over 1,000 trees, 2,500 cascading plants and shrubs will line the facades of the Nanjing Vertical Forest, which is already under construction in the city’s Pukou District. The mixed-used development commissioned by

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Jouke Post uses Cradle to Cradle principles to build family house in the Netherlands

Architect Jouke Post has used recyclable materials to create a sustainable house for his family near Rotterdam, which he claims is the first Cradle to Cradle house in the Netherlands. Post, of XX Architecten, collaborated with architect Frido van Nieuwamerongen and local studio Arconiko Architecten to design and build a sustainable family house that is also “modern, open and fresh”. The

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Bunyesc Arquitectes updates old Spanish house with new polycarbonate facade

Bunyesc Arquitectes has transformed a house in northeast Spain into a low-energy building by adding a new polycarbonate plastic facade. The Lleida-based architecture studio aimed to improve living conditions in the old house, which is located in the town of Pessonada, by improving the building’s thermal efficiency. To achieve this, the team installed eight-layer polycarbonate panels to the outside of the building’s

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Out of the Valley offers escapism with off-grid cabin made of oak and cedar

British firm Out of the Valley has developed an oak-framed cabin with burnt-cedar cladding that can be installed anywhere to provide a simple place to escape the stresses of modern life. The Oak Cabin was designed by Out of the Valley founder Rupert McKelvie as a sustainable low-impact dwelling that is equally suited to use in the

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Invisible Studio designs composting toilet for woodland workshop

This long drop composting toilet by Invisible Studio provides facilities for the practice’s self-built woodland workshop, and was built using offcuts from the project. Invisible Studio founder Piers Taylor recruited a team of unskilled volunteers and friends to build the toilet from materials scavenged from the surrounding woodland. This meant the toilet could be delivered for free. The stilted structure is

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Concave roofs collect rainwater for arid areas in proposal by BMDesign Studios

Bowl-shaped vessels would collect rainwater on the roofs of buildings located in hot and dry climates in a proposal by Iranian practice BMDesign Studios. Tehran-based BMDesign Studios – one of many offices contributing to Iran’s booming architecture scene – drew up the concept when planning a primary school in Iran’s Kerman province. Taking into consideration the arid climate of its site in

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La Voûte Nubienne revives ancient building technique to “transform housing” in Africa

Future Makers: in this movie, Thomas Granier explains why his organisation La Voûte Nubienne believes the future of housing in sub-Saharan Africa can be transformed by reviving a 3,500-year-old building technique. Called Nubian vault, the technique originates from the ancient civilisation of Nubia located in what is today northern Sudan and southern Egypt. It enables

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Arturo Vittori’s Warka Water towers harvest clean drinking water from the air

Future Makers: in this exclusive movie, Italian architect Arturo Vittori explains how his wooden Warka Water structures can provide clean drinking water for rural communities in the developing world. Through the Warka Water project, Vittori is investigating alternative water sources for remote communities without access to running water. “Warka Water is a philosophy looking at the

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National University of Singapore starts building zero-energy design school

Construction started today on a Singapore design school that will produce all of its own energy and more. Designed as a collaboration between international office Serie Architects and Singapore studio Multiply Architects, the new School of Design and Environment at the National University of Singapore is intended to be a net-zero energy building. The structure will generate its electrical energy

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Zaha Hadid Architects to build world’s first wooden football stadium

Zaha Hadid Architects has been commissioned to design a 5,000-seat stadium built entirely from wood, for the British football club Forest Green Rovers. The London-based firm set up by the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid won an international competition to design the stadium for the National League team, seeing off competition from over 50 other entrants from Europe and

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Socially responsible design in America presented in Cooper Hewitt exhibition

Design solutions for a wide range of social concerns, from rapid-recovery housing to drinking water access for migrants, are featured in a new show at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in New York. The exhibition, By The People: Designing for a Better America, features 60 projects from every region across the USA. It is the third

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Vancouver university building by KPMB features fritted glass and rough-sawn cedar

Canadian studio KPMB has completed an alumni centre for the University of British Columbia with angled, fritted-glass facades that “change dramatically from day to night” (+ slideshow). Rising three storeys, the Robert H Lee Alumni Centre serves as a gateway building for the University of British Columbia’s campus on a coastal site in Vancouver. Established More

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House Zilvar by ASGK Design is an angular wooden home in the Czech countryside

A+Awards: next up in our collaboration with Architizer is this energy-efficient wooden home on the outskirts of a small village in the Czech Republic, which was one of the private houses recognised in this year’s A+Awards (+ slideshow). Designed by Prague studio ASGK Design, Energy Efficient Wooden House Zilvar occupies a site surrounded by fields More

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EFFEKT designs ReGen Villages that could produce all their own food and energy

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016: Danish studio EFFEKT has envisioned a self-sustaining, off-grid village of greenhouse properties, which it will present inside the Danish Pavilion during the Venice Biennale. Called ReGen Villages, the project imagines a community of buildings that produce all their own food and energy – a model that aims to tackle a wide spectrum of global issues, from the More

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Triptyque overhauls 1970s office tower in Rio to make it more environmentally friendly

French-Brazilian studio Triptyque has revamped a 85-metre-high office block in Rio de Janeiro with zigzagging glazing and solar panels so it can generate its own electricity (+ movie). RB12 was first built in the 1970s and, like many of the city’s buildings from that era, had very few green credentials. Rather than demolishing it, property developer Natekko asked Triptyque to look at ways of reducing its More

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Fiction Factory builds prototype for “groundbreaking” cardboard house

Amsterdam collective Fiction Factory has developed a modular building system of cardboard components, which can be assembled in just one day to form houses or offices (+ slideshow). Named Wikkelhouse, which translates from Dutch as Wrap House, the completed prototype comprises a series of interlocking cardboard segments that each weigh 500 kilograms. Each of these tubular components is 1.2 More

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Rogers Stirk Harbour tackles global food crisis with vertical farm concept

London firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has revealed details of a concept for a bamboo-framed vertical farm that could provide an alternative to traditional land-intensive farming. Named Skyfarm, the design is for a multi-storey hyperboloid structure that integrates different types of farming – ranging from traditional planting to aquaponics – and also produces its own energy. More

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Spark unveils plans for colourful beach huts built from recycled ocean plastic

Architecture firm Spark wants to use plastic to build a series of elevated beach huts resembling giant pine cones in Singapore. Spark’s Singapore office envisions using some of the millions of tons of plastic waste dumped into the world’s oceans every year to build a series of unusual architectural structures along the shoreline of the city’s East More

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Shotgun Chameleon house in Houston is designed to help its owners off-set their mortgage

Taking influences from the vernacular houses of the southern US, this low-cost house in Houston by ZDES architects is designed to accommodate a family, but can be divided up to allow the owners to rent out private areas.  The 139-square-metre house, called Shotgun Chameleon, was conceived as a prototype that could be adapted with a variety of room configurations More

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KPF conceives futuristic new city quarter for archipelago in Tokyo Bay

US-based firm Kohn Pedersen Fox has envisioned a new district in Tokyo that includes a mile-high skyscraper and infrastructure elements that will protect the city from natural disasters (+ slideshow). Called Next Tokyo 2045, the conceptual plan was featured in the Japanese documentary series Next World and was recently published as a research paper by More

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Bureau SLA’s environmental learning centre demonstrates sustainable building methods

Tessellating timber panels create graphic patterns on the exterior of this environmental education facility in Amsterdam by Bureau SLA, which also features a roof covered in solar panels (slideshow). The Nature & Environment Learning Centre (NME) is part of a programme aimed at educating children in the Netherlands about the environment and sustainability. Dutch studio Bureau SLA was asked More

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Tailor Made Arkitekter merges an archetypal barn with a glasshouse for lakeside spa in Sweden

Half greenhouse, half rust-coloured barn, this spa and events space by Tailor Made Arkitekter stands on the edge of Lake Vättern in southern Sweden (+ slideshow). Designed by Gothenburg studio Tailor Made Arkitekter to replace an old barn, Uppgrenna Nature House takes its cues from traditional Swedish architecture, but also from greenhouses. It is modelled on the Naturhus, or nature house, a sustainable […]

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Patrick Dillon’s SaLo House is an off-grid forest dwelling overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Architect Patrick Dillon built this sustainable house on a forested hilltop in Panama from salvaged materials that had to be brought to the site by boat and horseback (+ slideshow). The project to design and build the SaLo House, which is named after its location near the tip of Punta de San Lorenzo, began in 1997 […]

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Ash Sakula Architects designs three mews houses for a rural eco development

Wooden shingles clad the end wall and pitched roofs of this terrace in the English county of Hampshire, designed as a prototype for affordable, sustainable construction in the area (+ slideshow). The row of three houses designed by London studio Ash Sakula Architects forms part of a redevelopment project that involves transforming a former military base into […]

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Paolo Carlesso clads Italian family house with cement panels

This family home near Milan features a partially exposed steel and timber frame modelled on the historical rural farm buildings in the surrounding area. Located in Fagnano Olona, a small village to the north-west of Milan, Casa CM was built between 2010 and 2014 by architect Paolo Carlesso as a home for his own family. The exterior of the […]

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