So on Saturday, with the rest of town scuttling about doing their month-end grocery shopping, Wes van Eeden got stuck into the KZNIA Shipping Container Pimping Business and put the finishing touches on the work he started 2 weeks ago. The artwork is in part to promote the New Paradigms conference and also serves to brighten up the public space.
We also really dig the other stuff Wes has done, check it out HERE.
Columbo House of Coffees, based in Durban KZN provided the first example of sustainable seating….using a burlap coffee bag and an old galvanized tub. Charming! But think…..recycled T-Shirt Material, Wooden Pallets, Recycled Road Signs, Tyres, Cardboard and Cardboard Tubes! Gosh we live in exciting times! Enjoy……I certainly did!
I loved Durban architect Rob Vosper and his wife Jane’s Kloof home at their front gate already. I started taking pictures of their home, whilst walking down the driveway already, even before I introduced myself to him formally about a year ago. Rob took my enthusiasm in his stride saying snap away, which naturally I did. Being in the steel roofing game, I only had eyes for the dramatic angled sheet metal roofs, but on closer inspection realised that a portion of the Vosper residence has a complete GREEN roof.
The inspiration for the roof Rob explains was the presidential suite at Tendele Camp, Royal Natal National Park. It is an entirely green roofed building and fitted in splendidly within the context and the aesthetics of the Park. Rob and Jane set out to achieve a similar effect in their own home and the effect is simply breath-taking. The indigenous garden softens the edges of the built structure and seamlessly blends into the environment. Rob and Jane wanted to achieve natural “grassland look” and set about collecting seeds and buying plants but it soon became apparent that the roof had a mind of its own. Certain plants became dominant and the couple just allowed the roof to do its own thing. Throughout the year the hues of the different grasses change creating a sense of theatre to the home, built mostly out of materials like stone concrete and glass. The roof garden over the living space isn’t the only roof garden the home has to offer. Rob created another area on the opposite side of the house with a deeper pocket of soil in which succulents grow. This area is overlooked from Rob’s office and he quips that certain time of the year, when the aloes in the garden are in bloom, there is an immediate visual link to the accent colour of his home office – orange. Rob also chose the option of the roof garden for its environmental benefits. Apart from being thermally efficient, the garden is also abuzz with wildlife such as seed eating birds and the occasional snake. The Vosper’s have certainly succeeded in their goal in creating a little rooftop Utopia in the heart of Kloof!
For more information contact Rob Vosper on email@example.com
When I first started reading about Biomimicry Principles and heard of an example of this method mimicking nature by regulating temperature control in a Zimbabwean shopping centre, using termites, I was excited! I had visions of termites crawling up and down double walls of the centre, somehow regulating the temperature. I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed when a little later into my research it appeared that no actual termites were used – simply the design methods they employ to regulated the temperature in their mounds. So much for my vivid imagination….but interesting nonetheless.
The Eastgate Centre in Harare was the brainchild of architect Mick Pearce in conjunction with Arup Associates. The centre has no air-conditioning or heating but manages to stay regulated; temperature wise; all year round, thanks to borrowing a simple design idea from mother nature. In this case from African termite;
Termites build gigantic mounds in which they farm fungus – their staple diet. For the fungus to grow and thrive, temperature in the mound, needs to be kept at a steady 30.56 degrees Celsius. The termites achieve this by constantly opening and closing a series of heating and cooling vents throughout the mound all day long! Air is sucked in at the lower point of the mound, down into muddy walled enclosures and the up through a channel to the top of the mound. The industrious termites constantly dig new vents and plug up old ones in order to regulate the temperature.
Eastgate Centre is Zimbabwe’s largest office and shopping complex and fully embraces the best of green architecture and ecological sensitivity. Largely constructed from concrete, its ventilation works much the same as the mounds of the termites. Air drawn from outside is either warmed or cooled by the building mass, dependant on which is hotter – the building concrete or the air. It is the vented into the buildings floors before exited via dramatic chimneys on the building’s roof. The complex consists of two side by side buildings, separated by an open glass covered space and subject to local breezes. Fans located on the first floor of the building continuously draw in air from this open space, which is then pushed up vertical supply sections of ducts that are located in the central spine of each of the two buildings. Fresh air replaces the stale air that rises and exits through exhaust ports in the ceilings of each floor. Ultimately it enters the exhaust section of the vertical ducts before it is flushed out of the building through chimneys.
This architectural and engineering marvel uses less than 10% of the energy of a conventional building its size. The energy efficiency of the building translates into huge cost savings for the owners, in terms of energy consumption for the centre and in turn the tenants who enjoy rentals some 20% less than those in conventional surrounding buildings.
A modern architecture lesson learnt from the humble creatures we sometime inadvertently squash underfoot.
It’s the 60th birthday of Portuguese architect and Pritzker prize laureate Eduardo Souto De Moura. Eduardo studied sculpture before switching to architecture. In 2011 he became only the second Portuguese architect in history to be honoured by the Pritzker Prize for his work on the Estadio Municipal de Braga, the Burgo Tower in Porto and the Pala Rego Museum in Cascais. Happy birthday Eduardo!