Cardboard That’s A Cut Above The Rest

Cardboard That’s A Cut Above The Rest

Think cardboard has to look bland or isn’t sturdy enough to make a viable structure? Think again. Shigeru Ban is one architect that has taken cardboard to a new level. The ability to transform the material into amazing structures isn’t his only gift. He also uses his skillset to make cardboard emergency shelters for communities that need them most. Many of his designs have been built as temporary shelters to help sustain regions suffering through terrible natural disasters. His shelters have been put to work in Japan, Rwanda, Haiti and several other places. Cardboard is fairly inexpensive, especially in comparison… read more

Unusually Green: Out Of The Ordinary Homes Part 2

Unusually Green: Out Of The Ordinary Homes Part 2

There are surprisingly quite a few oddly constructed green homes sprinkled around the globe. This one has a shared feature with the home in Part 1 of our Unusually Green series, and ranked next on the list because of its unique dominant ability – it moves. Over the course of about 5 minutes this house can do a 150° rotation by way of an elastomeric belt. It is constructed with arches that anchor to a gear ring forged from steel and affixed to a solid concrete base. Unbelievably, it only uses around the quarter of the energy required to run an… read more

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

www.chenchowlittle.com

Walking past this Victorian terrace in inner-city Sydney, while beautiful none-the-less, it looks like many others in the suburb and surrounding areas. That is unless you have the good fortune to step inside. And once you do, you’ll be blown away by the modern and minimal sculptural design and the fluid flow of the floorplan. But the real wow factor comes in the form of the incredible light and airyness that is often unfamiliar in traditional terrace houses. Renowned Sydney architect firm, Chenchow Little, have created a minimalistic abode filled with glass, concrete and wood. Nicknamed the Skylight House, the… read more

Masdar City Development Promises Eco-Metropolis

Masdar City Development Promises Eco-Metropolis

Many examples of sustainable communities can be found across the globe, however there is one currently in the construction and development phase that is breaking the blueprint mold. Called Masdar City, the sprawling multifaceted area is located in the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. Masdar literally means ‘the source’, and it is planned to be an efficient, environmentally designed metropolitan expanse. The project actually began many years ago and had hoped for a finalization date sometime soon, but now developers are looking at a completion date of 2015 for Phase 1 of the design. It assures an upgraded lifestyle… read more

Not Quite The Empty Nester

Biomimicry-inspired Human Nests

You might not be too familiar with the concept of Biomimicry (or Biomimetics) yet, but it’s all about getting inspiration on how nature builds models, processes and elements in order to solve human problems. The term comes from the Greek words “bios”, meaning life, and “mimesis” which mean to imitate. This idea has been around for a long time and one of the early examples of Biomimicry, although never successful but highly inspiring, was Leonardo da Vinci’s “flying machines”, that were created by observing the anatomy and flight of birds. Taking this Biomimicry concept to an extreme, South Africa-based artist… read more

Unusually Green: Out of The Ordinary Homes Part 1

Unusually Green: Out of The Ordinary Homes, Part 1

Learning about green home constructions and architectural elements is one thing, however seeing them as highly efficient, functioning, up and running living spaces is quite another. At Blackle Mag we are always on the lookout for designs with an eco-conscious focus, and we have come across a few lately that have caught our eye for their environmentally inclined features and noteworthy appearances. Exquisite and distinctive, the homes in this 3 part series will make you wish for a one of a kind green wonder space, too. From the creative minds of Architecture and Vision, MercuryHouseOne is a home like no… read more

Equality Inspired Public Designs

Equality Inspired Public Designs

Art exhibits and design statement pieces can be aesthetically appealing as well as carry significant messages. Whether through visual installations or exterior building features, showing a commitment to social equality can be displayed in several ways. One public art project called Under the Baobab was created by Pirate Technics. Their rendition of the African baobab tree and its symbolization formed soft, yet colorful pieces that were done for the community. Initially developed for London’s Festival of the World, local design students helped construct the visual, and it has also been used by storefronts to display their fabrics. The baobab tree, which is… read more

Grass Roof Looks Good and Reduces Bills

School With Green Roof and Biomass Power Plant

The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut in the US has cut a six-figure sum from its winter energy bill by replacing its outdated oil-burning boiler with woodchip biomass ones. Designed by Centerbrook Architects, the undulated green roofed building is situated at the bottom of a sloping landscape, blending beautifully with their own surrounding farm, golf course and marshes. As well as being a great insulator and attracting plenty of wildlife, the luscious green roof structure collects and filters rainwater that is used for the garden and flushing the toilets. Under its undulating top, a massive Biomass Power Plant produces clean energy… read more

Exclusive Eco Retreats Most Can Only Dream About

Exclusive Eco Retreats Most Can Only Dream About

Taking some time off in new surroundings can be good for grabbing a little rest and acquiring a fresh outlook. The majority of us will probably never get to vacay in a luxury spot like one of the following, but their eco conscious designs will give your eyes a little holiday just looking at the photographs of them. Designed by Sarah Featherstone of Featherstone Associates, The Orchid House is a captivating, environmentally engineered home. It is located in the Cotswolds, England, and is reportedly one of the most costly green constructions ever on the market with a price tag in… read more

When is green not so green?

Mark Evans alum.mit.edu

Answer – when it is done just for green’s sake. Nothing is sustainable if it cannot be managed financially and if it doesn’t support the end users while it respects resources and the planet. An ugly, poorly laid out green building will only be torn down in a few years, and frustrate all who use it. Yes, use local materials, but only if they work and if you can afford them! Seek to be greener by being creative in regard to balancing the budget, the benefit to the building occupants and staff, and the planet we call home.