22 ago. 2012

more domes

Echoing the structures of Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Domes, Danish Architect Kári Thomsen and Engineer Ole Vanggaard have created Easy Domes, a series of quick assembly, low-energy homes! Following the success of the first Easy Dome home built in 1992 for the Greenland Society on The Faroe Islands, a number of dome-shaped cottages were erected as tourist getaways.

The unique shape of the Easy Dome, called an icosahedron, is designed to optimize the amount of interior space inside each home. Made up of several hexagonal pieced together, the dome hosts a wealth of interior nooks and crannies, making it stand out from other prefab home designs.
The dome offers individuals the opportunity to build their own high quality homes, coming with pre-built wooden sections, ready to assemble on either a concrete or timber plinth. Once on site, the dome houses take only one day to raise and seal, and for domes less than 500 square feet, no crane is needed to complete construction. The load construction is extremely strong and built for extreme weather, including wind speeds of 200 mph with one meter of wet snow on the roof.

The completed two-floor homes come with living room, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms and are constructed using only sustainable and recycled materials. The exterior is covered with non-toxic impregnated pinewood, and the roof is covered with grass. The construction is ventilated on the exterior and insulated with wood-wool or flax, with fiber gypsum to cover all installations and cables. The floor is made up of a plate of reinforced concrete with pressure-resistant insulation and vitrified gravel underneath. Laying on top of the concrete are insulation and floorboards. Furthermore, each home is installed with solar panels and a brick stove, both of which are thermostat-controlled and connected to a water tank. Other renewable energy systems are also available
With a minimum use of materials, the domes are sustainable, energy efficient, spacious and cost-efficient. There is also the potential to erect two or three domes together.

Eathouse (www.ateliergras.nl)

vertical aquaponic veggie & fish farm


Aquaponics is an integrated form of a re-circulating aquaculture system (usually, freshwater fish farming) and hydroponics. In these systems, plants within hydroponic components utilize nutrient rich fish waste as fertilizer. In doing so the plant grow area filters the wastewater — allowing for its reuse in the fish-rearing component.

This low-cost vertical aquaponic system can grow leafy greens, herbs and raise fish for a small family year round, and it fits in a 5' by 3' space. Sean Brady, the aquaponics projects coordinator at the Center for Sustainable Aquaponics and Nourish the Planet in Loveland, Colo., showed us how to build a system from scrap he found around the greenhouse. We published a version of this how-to guide at engineeringforchange.org, and it's one of the good ones, so we'd like to share it with Instructables, too.

What it is
A vertical aquaponic system grows vegetables without soil in columns above a fish tank. By growing vertically, you can produce about twice the amount of plants as you can with a hydroponic system of the same area. One five-foot tower can produce more than 200 heads of lettuce per year. And it uses a small fraction of the water needed to grow crops in soil.

The system puts fish waste to work as fertilizer for crops. A small pump draws nutrient-rich water from the fish tank to the tops of the vertical columns. The water trickles down through the roots of the plants, gathering oxygen from the air as it falls back into the tank. It releases almost no waste and, because it's soil free, there's no need for fertilizer or most pesticides.
You do have to replace lost water as needed, power the pump and feed the fish. Try raising crickets for fish food, or buy them flakes. It might not be too hard to power one of these pumps with a small solar panel or some other renewable energy. If anyone has an idea, please share.
For more information on aquaponics, please see CSA's and NTP's sites. 

8 ago. 2012

flat tower

The construction of skyscrapers has been an architectural solution for high-density urban areas for almost a century for its ability to combine height with a small footprint. Today there is a constant race between large metropolises and nations to build the tallest structure, but it has been proven that this typology is sometimes not desirable for medium-size cities where skyscrapers destroy the skyline and disrupt the infrastructure of the specific location.
The Flat Tower is a new high-density typology that deviates from the traditional skyscraper. It is based on a medium-height dome structure that covers a large area while preserving its beauty and previous function. The dome is perforate with cell-like skylights that provide direct sunlight to the agricultural fields and to the interior spaces. The dome's large surface area is perfect to harvest solar energy and rainwater collection.
Community recreational facilities are located at ground level while the residential and office units are in the upper cells. An automated transportation system connects all the units, which are different shapes according to their program. It is also possible to combine clusters of cells to create larger areas for different activities.
Although this proposal could be adapted to any medium-size city around the world, it has been designed for the city of Rennes, France, in an old industrial area.
 Second Place
2011 Skyscraper Competition

Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, Xavier Schirr-Bonnans