Solar Carve Tower Gets Underway in NYC

A few new details have come to light regarding the skyscraper Solar Carve Tower designed by Studio Gang planned in New York City. Plans for the tower were first revealed back in 2012. This unique tower was designed in a way that doesn’t obstruct the view of the adjacent buildings, or cast shade on its surrounding area. Construction will begin soon.

The Solar Carve Tower will be a mixed-use building that will be 213 ft (65 m) high and have a total floorspace of 166,750 sq ft (15,491 sq m). The building will also have a huge rooftop garden, while most of the floors will also have private terraces. They are aiming to achieve the LEED Gold certification, though they have not announced how they plan to get it. It will most likely be though sustainable features such as water efficiency, solar power, use of recycled materials and others.

The building will be constructed in NYC’s meatpacking district directly over the High Line. To achieve the no-shade casting objective, as well as not to obstruct anyone’s view, the building looks like it had chunks of its façade carved out, though the end result is a very interesting addition to the NYC skyline. Airflow and ventilation were also a consideration in the design.

The fact that skyscrapers are casting too much shadow is a real concern in NYC and something that has led to residents protesting in the past. Many projects do not get the go-ahead precisely because of this. And it is certainly nice to see architects starting to work around this problem, as they did in the case of the Solar Carve Tower. Bringing sustainable tech and more greenery to the city is also a bonus.

They estimate that the Solar Carve tower will be completed and in use by early 2019.

One World Trade Center Awarded LEED Gold

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One World Trade Center, built by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, has recently been awarded the LEED Gold certification due to its sustainable design. Given its height, and its completely glazed façade, that’s quite impressive.

One World Trade Center was completed in 2016, and measures exactly 1,776 ft (541 m) in height. This number is symbolic and represents the year 1776, which is when the US declared its independence. It was built on the spot where the North Tower once stood. As already mentioned, the façade is glazed and features a glass curtain wall, which surrounds the building from the 20th floor all the way up to the observation deck. The glass is coated so that glare, ultra-violet and infrared light is reduced, while it allows natural light through, so that it reaches over 90 percent of the total office area in the building. This greatly offsets the need for artificial lighting.

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The tower also has a special management system, which monitors and adjusts energy use and indoor air quality via thousands of sensors spread out across the building. They also installed a system, which captures rainwater and stores it in three tanks. This water is then used for cooling and irrigation. More than 40 percent of the material used to build the tower was recycled. This includes glass, gypsum boards, and ceiling tiles. Also, they managed to divert roughly 87 percent of construction waste from the landfill.

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They used 430,000 tons of concrete to build the tower, as well as 46,000 tons of steel, but most of the latter was recycled. The elevators, which can move at 2,000 ft (609 m) per minute are capable of reclaiming some of the energy they need to run through regenerative braking.

Quite a feat! All I can say is: let’s hope more and more new large structures are built with greater sustainability in mind.

Tallest Wooden Tower in the World is Almost Complete

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Say what you will about wooden construction, it is sustainable. So it’s great that even large structures are now being built out of wood. One awesome example of this type of architecture is Brock Commons, a University of British Columbia student housing tower. It will rise to an impressive 174 ft (53 m) and will be the tallest wooden residential tower in the world once it is complete. Which it very nearly is.

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It took just 66 days to build the wooden tower. It’s not quite finished yet though, but once complete it will contain 33 four-bed rooms, and 272 studios, so the 18-floor tower will be able to accommodate 404 residents. The tower was designed by Acton Ostry Architects.

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The structure consists of 16 floors of five-ply cross laminated timber (CLT) floor panels, and has a steel-framed roof, as well as a few concrete sections, namely the base and stairwells. The façade of the tower is made of prefabricated panels that had the windows pre-installed. These panels contain 70 percent wood-based fibers with steel stud framed sections, and form a high-pressure laminate cladding.

The construction went remarkably quickly. At first they managed to build one floor per week, but were able to go faster after that, building two or more floors per week. Not including the concrete sections, they’ve been able to complete the entire structure in just over three months, which given the size of the tower is quite remarkable.

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The Brock Commons residence was also designed according to LEED Gold certification standards, and will receive this certification once it is completed. They estimate that it will be completed in May, 2017, which is four months ahead of schedule. They are currently installing the steel roof, which they hope to complete in a couple of weeks.

Early Renders of a LEED Gold Residential Complex Unveiled

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Studio Gang Architects of Chicago recently released a series of early pictures of a new LEED Gold project that they are designing. The residential building will be built in the Buena Vista neighborhood of Miami, FL by 2016 and it will feature a number of sustainable and eco-friendly technologies, which the architects plan to meet the standards of a LEED Gold certification. The design itself is also pretty futuristic in its own right.

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The 14-story building will be made up of 76 residential units and have a total floor space of 160,000 square feet. The 76 apartments will vary in sizes and will all have great views of the beautiful Biscayne Bay. The units will feature a small balcony, while the complex will also have a communal lounge and a rooftop swimming pool. The ground floor will be rented out as retail space.

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The complex will also feature a very interesting façade, which is the result of Studio Gang’s guiding principle of exo-spatial high-rise design, which is based on striving to create buildings in which the inside extends to the outside in a dynamic spatial arrangement.

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The complex will also be very energy efficient and sustainable. The designers plan to install solar shading, and a rainwater collection system, among other things, which they have yet to reveal. Since they are aiming for the LEED Gold status the building will likely feature a number of other energy efficient and environmentally-friendly features, which could make this building one of the most sustainable multi-unit buildings in the country.

Going forward in facing the energy crisis, it is important that cities become home to more environmentally friendly dwellings, so it’s nice to see such projects already underway across the country and the world. Hopefully more such projects will be announced in the future and we will keep you posted on how this one proceeds.

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Big Budget Historical Renovation Gets the (LEED) Gold


Big Budget Historical Renovation Gets the (LEED) Gold

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One of the twenty-one projects that have been named as winners by REMODELING magazine in the 2013 Remodeling Design Awards, the Shornecliffe Residence gets its recognition in the category, Green Remodeling Over $250,000. The sustainable renovation of the 1914 arts-and-crafts-styled home has achieved it a LEED for Homes Gold rating.

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When the homeowner called upon architect, Treffle LaFleche and Andrew Hinterman of LDa Architecture & Interiors to remodel the home, the priorities were set to renovate and build an addition that would achieve LEED certification while maintaining the historical qualities of the home and supporting it into the future. Plans for the remodel included expansion of the garage, a kitchen expansion with breakfast area, and the addition of a mudroom. Sudbury Design Group brought in drought-tolerant and non-invasive plants to create recreation areas and improve drainage.

Sustainable and earth-friendly features contributed to the achievement of LEED Gold:

addition of a living, green roof on the expanded garage
re-cladding of the exterior with PVC shingles
reuse of interior door panels
installation of a rainwater collection system
use of high-density, closed-cell spray foam insulation
high-efficiency water fixtures
replacement of windows with new, energy-efficient thermal pane windows
use of FSC-certified framing and roofing materials
replacement of mechanical systems
preservation of interior finishes and details or use of low-VOC finishes

Located in the Farlow Hill Historic District of Newton, Massachusetts, the home now sports an expanded master suite on the second floor and an addition that connects the home to a new underground garage. It has significantly more interior daylighting and an improvement of flow between rooms.

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