25 abr. 2012

Stacking Green House in Vietnam


Saigon (city with the highest density of population in the world)


- It is a typical tube house constructed on the plot 4,00 m wide and 20,00m deep.

- The front and back façades are entirely composed of layers of concrete planters cantilevered from two side walls.

- The distance between the planters and the height of the planters are adjusted according to the height of the plants, which varies from 25 cm to 40 cm.

- To water plants and for easy maintenance, an automatic irrigation pipes inside the planters has been developed. 

-  This tropical, unique and green house has been named “Stacking Green” because its façades filled with vigorous and vital greenery.

- The house structure is a RC frame structure widely used in Vietnam. 

- The partition walls are very few in order to keep interior fluency and view of green façades from every point of the house. 

- The green façade and roof top garden protect its inhabitants from the direct sunlight, street noise and pollution. 

- Furthermore, natural ventilation through the façades and 2 top-lights allow this house to save a big energy in a harsh climate in Saigon ( bioclimatic principles of traditional Vietnamese courtyard house).

17 abr. 2012

Urban remediation and civic infrastructure hub, São Paulo, Brazil

Global Holcim Awards Silver 2012

Type of project: Building and civil engineering works
Start of construction: June 2011
Authors: Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, Urban-Think Tank (U-TT), Brazil

This project for a multifunctional public building, Grotão - Fábrica de Música (music factory), is located in Grotão in the heart of the Paraisópolis favela of São Paulo. With more than 100,000 inhabitants, it is one of the largest informal communities worldwide. Like many favelas, and despite its unusually central location, the area is effectively separated from the formal city and its social and cultural infrastructure. In addition, due to the informal development and the area’s topographic and geological conditions, the site is characterized by increased erosion and dangerous mudslides. The project takes up both of these key challenges, building on intense community participation.

The challenging topography is retained and stabilized to prevent further erosion, creating a natural arena in a terraced public space and including a precinct for urban agriculture. Different low-tech features are proposed. A water management system is introduced to use rainwater on site and reuse grey-water. An integrative system for the active and passive use of ventilation, cooling and air conditioning makes use of both, the building and the amphitheater construction. In its vertical structure, the building itself offers various spaces for the music school, including a small concert hall, and also sports facilities, public spaces, and transport infrastructure. In the vicinity, residential buildings augment housing reserves and frame the arena.

Statement by project author, Hubert Klumpner

Project author Hubert Klumpner, Co-Director of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) explains that the multifunctional community center in the Paraisópolis favela of São Paulo demonstrates a leading approach to ecological, social and economic sustainability that is interesting in terms of the interplay between each objective.

The structure itself addresses land slippage and flooding issues in a basin which fills with water during the wet season. The intervention is supported by the City of São Paulo to create an environmental center and cultural center focused upon perhaps one of Latin America’s greatest exports – music. 

The benefit of the building is far greater than its content alone. Since 2011, local legislation encourages sustainable construction approaches that make use of alternative energies and urban planning. This site will create a traffic hub in connection to the street and the new infrastructure, will act as a social hub, and is a tangible example of sustainable building techniques that incorporates photovoltaic electricity generation, water recycling, wind energy systems, and the use of recycled construction waste and debris within cast concrete to form the terraces and gardens of the new site.

This site is a window into the future of how the development of Grotão could proceed if sustainable construction approaches and technolgies are implemented.

A framework for sustainable construction

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction is committed to the “triple bottom line” concept, which asserts that long-term and sustainable progress requires the balanced achievement of economic development, environmental performance and social advancement.

Based on this concept and to make sustainable construction easier to understand, evaluate and apply, the Holcim Foundation and its renowned partner universities have identified a set of five “target issues” for sustainable construction, which serve as a basis for the evaluation of submissions in the Holcim Awards competition and for assessing other projects in the context of Holcim Grants and publications on exemplary sustainable construction buildings.

Click on the links below for in-depth definitions of each “target issue”, including their practical application within exemplary buildings and Holcim Awards winning projects from different regions of the world:

Innovation and transferability – Progress
Ethical standards and social equity – People

Environmental quality and resource efficiency – Planet

Economic performance and compatibility – Prosperity

Contextual and aesthetic impact – Proficiency

9 abr. 2012

Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants a Forest

Way back in 1953, French author Jean Giono wrote the epic tale The Man Who Planted Trees. It seemed so real that readers thought the central character, Elzeard Bouffier , was a living individual until the author clarified he had created the person only to make his readers fall in love with trees. 

Assam's Jadav Payeng has never heard of Giono's book. But he could be Bouffier. He has single-handedly grown a sprawling forest on a 550-hectare sandbar in the middle of the Brahmaputra. It now has many endangered animals, including at least five tigers, one of which bore two cubs recently.

The place lies in Jorhat, some 350 km from Guwahati by roadt. At one point on the stretch, a smaller road has to be taken for some 30 km to reach the riverbank. There, if one is lucky, boatmen will ferry you across to the north bank. A trek of another 7 km will then land you near Payeng's door. Locals call the place 'Molai Kathoni' (Molai's woods) after Payeng's pet name, Molai.

A little over 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav "Molai" Payeng began burying seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in northern India's Assam region to grow a refuge for wildlife. Not long after, he decided to dedicate his life to this endeavor, so he moved to the site where he could work full-time creating a lush new forest ecosystem. Incredibly, the spot today hosts a sprawling 1,360 acre of jungle that Payeng planted single-handedly.

The Times of India recently caught up with Payeng in his remote forest lodge to learn more about how he came to leave such an indelible mark on the landscape:

It all started way back in 1979 when floods washed a large number of snakes ashore on the sandbar. One day, after the waters had receded, Payeng , only 16 then, found the place dotted with the dead reptiles. That was the turning point of his life.

"The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms. It was carnage . I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me. Nobody was interested," says Payeng, now 47.

He watered the plants morning and evening and pruned them. After a few years, the sandbar was transformed into a bamboo thicket. "I then decided to grow proper trees. I collected and planted them. I also transported red ants from my village, and was stung many times. Red ants change the soil's properties . That was an experience," Payeng says, laughing.

Soon, there were a variety of flora and fauna which burst in the sandbar, including endangered animals like the one-horned rhino and Royal Bengal tiger. "After 12 years, we've seen vultures. Migratory birds, too, have started flocking here. Deer and cattle have attracted predators," claims Payeng . He says locals recently killed a rhino which was seen in his forest at another forest in Sibsagar district.

Payeng talks like a trained conservationist. "Nature has made a food chain; why can't we stick to it? Who would protect these animals if we, as superior beings, start hunting them?"

The Assam state forest department learnt about Payeng's forest only in 2008 when a herd of some 100 wild elephants strayed into it after a marauding spree in villages nearby. They also destroyed Payeng's hutment . It was then that assistant conservator of forests Gunin Saikia met Payeng for the first time.

"We were surprised to find such a dense forest on the sandbar. Locals, whose homes had been destroyed by the pachyderms, wanted to cut down the forest, but Payeng dared them to kill him instead. He treats the trees and animals like his own children. Seeing this, we, too, decided to pitch in," says Saikia. "We're amazed at Payeng. He has been at it for 30 years. Had he been in any other country, he would have been made a hero."


The Tentsile is more of a combination hammock-tent than a tree house, but it looks best hanging in the forest. The design team set out to make a habitation that maximizes space while minimizing material used (it's made from water resistant polyester). The odd looking inverted pyramid has a cord running the length of each of its three points. The cords can either be attached to anchors like trees, or routed back to the base of the Tentsile (like in the beach and snow models pictured).


tentsile combines the comfort and versatility of a hammock with the usable space and security of a tent. The ultra portable structure uniquely employs tension forces to provide separation from wildlife, including insects, snakes and other predators but also from sand storms, earth tremors, cold or wet ground, debris or contamination.


Because the world is not flat.

The tentsile range offers unique sheltered accommodation in any environment. Ground conditions can limit the use of certain locations but now; whether you are looking for a more versatile camping solution or an urban garden treehouse that avoids planning restrictions, with tentsile the sky really is the only limit.