Amazing Books

I have loved learning more about sustainability, and the issue is becoming increasingly important to me. I know there is so much more I need to learn, and I went on the hunt for some books to read and gain knowledge of more views, perspectives and approaches to sustainable design. 

After a lovely day browsing through London’s book shops here is my reading list:-

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SINCLAIR. C, 2006, Design Like You Give A Damn, New York, Metropolis Books

(image reference: 10/01/2014, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Design-Like-Give-Damn-Architectural/dp/0500342199, website)

 

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Lupton. E and Miller. A, 2009, Design For A Living World, New York, Cooper-Hewitt/National Design Museum

(image reference: 10/01/2014, http://www.designersandbooks.com/book/design-living-world, website)

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Schwartz. M and Waugh. E, 2011, Recycling Spaces: Curating Urban Evolution, California, Novato

(image reference: 10/01/2014, http://worldlandscapearchitect.com/2013BR/MSP/Cover.jpg, website)

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Richardson.P, 2007, XS Green: big ideas, small spaces, London, Thames and Hudson

(image reference: 10/01/2014, http://www.thamesandhudson.com/XS_Green/9780500342305, website)

Multi Functional Products

Design Collective Ten created a series of sustainable wooden products for the company 100% design. As a group of collaborating designers they aim to make sustainable products beautiful and accessible, with a drive for ethical and eco production. The resulting items are simple, but I love the fact that many have more than one use, demonstrating ways to extend a products life cycle. For example, a toy truck that doubles up as a storage container or a toy car that can be used as a door stop. Other products encourage a sustainable behavior, like the bird feeder, which hopes to provide more friendly urban habitats for wildlife by getting people the engage with the environment.

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Reference: 11/01/2014, http://www.dezeen.com/2008/09/12/wood-at-100-design/, website

Phillips LED fluorescent tube bulbs

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I really despise fluorescent tube lights. They emit a glum, unflattering light, if you can call it “light”, and their inefficiency is frustrating, yet they are used so frequently in public places. This is why I was happy to see the news that Phillips have developed an LED bulb for use in the (horrid) fluorescent tubes.  I don’t know why it has taken SO long to develop this bulb when you consider how long such bulbs have been available for other lights, but hopefully this will improve the light quality, and at the same time use 50 percent less energy. Improvements all round!

Reference: 11/01/2014, http://inhabitat.com/infographic-philips-instant-fit-led-tubes-cut-energy-use-in-half/, website

Reclaim Domestic Actions publication autumn 2013

ImageThis magazine publication was great to read. It puts forward 54 actions or “re-processes” for architects and interior designers to consider during construction renovation of architecture in order to achieve living that is based on needs, and in turn, more sustainable results. There are similarities between the ideas here and those addressed within the Ted Ten, however the focus with this publication is on the built environment and presents ideas and examples that are particularly relevant to the design considerations that I make. The magazine highlights the importance of sustainable thinking from start to finish in order for it to be effective.

 Reference: Aurora Fernandes Per and Javier Mozas (editors), 2013, Reclaim Domestic Actions, Issue 41 Spring 2013, Spain,  a+t publishers.

Using the Underground as a source of Heat

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Islington council in London are beginning plans to supply cheaper power to every home in the borough by harnessing the excess heat from the Northern line. I think this is a brilliant idea and I am surprised it is not already common practice. I like the idea of searching for resources locally and putting waste into good use. It is an example of localised and site specific strategies for sustainability. It also approaches historical means of energy production, which was always produced locally and distributed locally up until the 20th century. If energy was produced locally on a wide spread basis, then sustainable methods can be used according to context, need, available resources and conditions.

Reference: 19/11/2013, http://www.islington.gov.uk/islington/news-events/news-releases/2013/11/Pages/PR5021.aspx, website

Atelier Tekuto- Earth Brick House

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Atelier Tekuto are an architectural studio based based in Japan. They devised a project with the aim to develop a widely available and environmental building material. They focused on soil- one of the earliest building materials. With research they found that adding Magnesium Oxide to natural clay soil makes it incredibly strong and durable. Magnesium Oxide is non-toxic and is not harmful to the environment (Magnesium Oxide is even added to some foods).

The studio formed the materials into bricks, easily manufactured and also possible to make by hand. The Bricks are 100 percent natural, and will stand for decades, at the same time as providing good insulation.

I am very interested in the idea of using the most basic and abundant of materials- earth- to make building materials. It is a method that has been used for centuries and centuries, but with the invention of concrete and steel was gradually over shadowed and somewhat forgotten in the building industry.

I think brick construction is commonly associated with victorian architecture and considered out dated or un attractive. Personally I think this is a misconception. Bricks do not have to be rectangular red blocks stacked one on top of the other. They can be formed into any shape or form, made from different materials that result in a variety of colours. The tessellation of the bricks can be creatively arranged, developing a sense of rhythm and movement through pattern. I also consider bricks to be a comforting material- tactile and warm, they offer a sense of solidarity and security. Having said this I can also see the potential in brick to be a delicate and fragile material, if made thinly like tiles, allowing for detail and elegance.

For my design project this year I would like to explore the potential of bricks, ways to reinvent their use to make something beautiful.

Reference: 14/11/2013, http://inhabitat.com/atelier-tekutos-earth-brick-house-is-the-epitome-of-efficient-local-design/, website

3DReid- Sustainable Office design

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3DReid have just completed the “nations most sustainable office environment”- One Angle Square Manchester. The building will be the headquarters for the Co-operative.

A double-skinned facade was designed to minimise heating and cooling, and underground concrete earth tubes provide free heating and cooling for incoming fresh air. Thermal mass is provided by exposing concrete soffits in the office areas. Waste air is extracted over the balcony edge using the natural stack effect of the atrium, avoiding large extract risers. This passes through a heat-exchanger that recycles the heat to warm incoming air. A water recycling system and rainwater harvesting lowers water consumption. In front of the building, the 3,000ft² lawn and with 75 species of plants, trees and shrubs, provides gardens for the staff and public. I appreciate this element of the design- not only does the architecture benefit the people who work there, but also provides a new space for everybody within the city, and has a positive social impact.

Researching this project has made me think about how to utilise many different strategies to create higher levels of sustainability. There is not just one solution to any project, and actually combining several ideas is a much more productive way to design. 3DReid have considered the proposed environment and designed a system of different sustainable technologies that work alongside each other. They have managed to do this without compromising the aesthetic of a modern working environment, in fact, i’m sure the abundance of natural lighting and connection with plants and foliage creates a fresh and motivating place to work.

Reference: 14/11/2013, http://www.3dreid.com/subsection/20/view?state=120, website.