Chic Sustainability Watch: 2012 European Solar Decathlon, London Design Festival, Venice Architecture Biennale, Milan Design Week & Canada Blooms Garden Festival

September 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve contributed to my half of the “Chic Sustainability Watch” team commitment (the other half being our wonderful Design Editor, Haven Kiers).  We had originally agreed to a bi-monthly column, which equated to each of us committing to writing about every two weeks…

Well, since it was my turn next, I’m the one who messed the bi-monthly thing up. But I’m baaak, so with real-life commitments and all, let’s see how it goes from now on!

Here are just some of the interesting and what I would call examples of true green  – not just eco-friendly –  living  (as in vegetation-embracing) architecture  entries that I’ve come across from these recent 2012 design events: The European Solar Decathlon,  London Design Festival,  Venice  Architecture Biennale, Milan Design Week and the Canada Blooms Garden Festival – none of them winners, but certainly noteworthy!

Several entries with greenroofs or greenwalls caught our attention, in particular from the:

European Solar Decathlon- September, 2012

–  Omotenashi House,  Chiba University

Via Inhabitat

What a beautiful home!  Held in Madrid, the sole European Solar Decathlon  2012 contestant entry from Japan by Chiba University architecture students, the  Omotenashi House  (Omotenashi means to “thoughtfully and sincerely conveying a feeling of consideration to those who you encounter”) provides a roomy and comfortable space envisioning a home with a lower carbon footprint.

Not only does it have solar panels, of course, but it also  sports a solar hot water heating system and grey water recycling, among other innovations…and take a  look at the hairy living walls above and living curtain of climbers below that not only provide shade but could provide vegetables as well!

Via Inhabitat

See a short video of the  Omotenashi House  at  the European Solar Decathlon  2012  homepage (in Spanish from the Japanese  Ambassador  to Spain). It also has urban food production with a rice paddy in its side garden.  If this hadn’t been a solar  decathlon, they certainly could have put the rice paddy on the roof!

It wouldn’t be the first time – see Episode #20: “The Current Situation and Future of Green Roofs in China”  by  Wang Xianmin,  an example from China from our inaugural  2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit  on  greenroofs.tv.

Via Inhabitat of 9.17.12 and Omotenashi House, and Inhabitat of  9.8.12, via The Japan Times.

– Para Eco-House,  Tongji University

The pre-fab Para Eco-House from  Tongji University architectural students in  China draws inspiration from Daoist principles.

Via Inhabitat

Yet passive and active forces combine with Western philosophies of independence and autonomy resulting in using materials such as highly renewable bamboo, solar panels, rainwater harvesting system, and a greenroof which could eventually provide a food source.

Via Inhabitat

Via Inhabitat of 9.7.12, via Muy Interesante  and Para Eco-House.

London Design Festival – September, 2012

Photo  © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

Kicked off on September 14, the London Design Festival offers some unique entries, one being this high eco-style  boat  house.

Photo  © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

Photo © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat

The INACHUS is a modern, functional, water-borne 2-story home from Sanitov Floating Homes that uses recycled materials, is powered by the sun and which happens to have a beautiful interior greenwall to cleanse the air.  Plans include the roof to be topped off with a greenroof, which would be quite a fun and responsible topper!

Via Inhabitat,  9.15.12.

Venice  Architecture Biennale – August, 2012

image  © designboom

This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 showcased a very interesting hanging system for growing plants indoors.  “Between Air” is a unique design by architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano of the firm  SelgasCano,  in collaboration with biologist Josep Selga and agronomist Juan Laureano, presented at the Spanish Pavilion here.

image  © designboom

The suspended hydroponic system of recycled plastic airpots is connected by these neat looking porous cylindrical forms, planted with a variety of succulents, herbs and even tree seedlings!  Indoor growing with a new technology and high style.  Watch a short video from the architects at designboom.

Via designboom of 8.29.12

Milan Design Week – April, 2012

Photo © Fabrikaat

FABRIKAAT was a Dutch exhibition included in the Milan Design Week last April. Students Micaela Nardella and Oana Tudose from the  Master of Interior Architecture and Retail Design program at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam  designed “Brick Biotope,” a set of modular brick nests with planted areas that can be  mortared into walls for birds.

Photo © Fabrikaat

What an awesome idea!  Easy, practical and I’m sure our bird friends will love it.

Via Inhabitat of  4.27.12

Canada Blooms Garden Festival – March, 2012

Photo © b sq. Design Studio

Constructed out of shipping pallets,  b sq. Design Studio Inc created the colorful and stunning “Plug and Play – the Pallet Garden” at the Canada Blooms Garden Festival  in Toronto  last March.

Photo © b sq. Design Studio

They used 105 pallets to create the dazzling and environmentally friendly display, which was meant to show we can use common materials at our disposal to create a thing of beauty, not to mention a thing of importance.  The recycled structures include an observation tower, planters, a water feature, and even wooden greenwalls planted with edibles.

Via Treehugger of 3.21.12

What a quirky set of some very cool projects designed and implemented in environments where just about anything goes – pure inspiration for the rest of us.

Hopefully we’ll see more of these  prototypes  built in the real world, not just a design festivals and competitions.  As far as the “Chic Sustainability Watch” goes, now it’s Haven’s turn!

~ Linda V.