ERA21 #02/2022 Carbon Neutral Architecture

kniha editorial

Circular and “Carbon Zero”

Jan Soukup

» entire article

kniha completed project

A House with Two Faces. Primary School’s Sports Hall Extension in Nový Hrozenkov »

Janica Šipulová, Martin Sládek / CONSEQUENCE FORMA architects

The new sports hall in Nový Hrozenkov serves the adjoining primary school as well as the general public. The extension is placed between the train embankment and the school’s existing east wing, thus forming a closed ring around the inner courtyard and garden that are now accessible from all the school’s buildings. The aim was to connect the landscape outside with the space inside the sports hall. This is achieved by the fully glazed west facade. An indoor rock-climbing wall influenced the shape of the building—reaching above the main court soffit, the wall ends with a distinctive rooftop skylight, mirrored on the other side of the building. Acoustic performance is improved by interior cladding from wood slats. The renovation and extension project has several stages, including the renovation of the school’s main building, a new technological outfit, new changing rooms, and a renovation of the notorious local weight-lifting gym in the basement. New landscaping around the school is also planned.

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Solarpunk »

Dustin Jacobus

Solarpunk, a new literary genre and art movement, seeks to answer the question, "What does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?" Contrary to post-apocalyptic and dystopian media, Solarpunk has a purposely optimistic message; it doesn't imply an alternative world history, but rather offers a true vision for the possible modernization of our current civilization. Solarpunk emphasizes environmental sustainability, technological and solar power advancements, community action and social justice. The visual aesthetics of Solarpunk are a combination of the Age of Sail and frontier living, Art Nouveau elegance, modern technology, creative reuse of existing infrastructure, and the steampunk animation style of Hayao Miyazaki films. The first Solarpunk Manifesto, published in 2019, provides a basic definition of the movement.

starting points

Most Green Buildings—So Far—Aren’t Even Close to Being Carbon-Neutral »

Justin Davidson

Existing buildings contribute about 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions (usually measured in a carbon dioxide equivalent or CO2e), new construction adds another 16 percent. Until recently, the effort to mitigate the damage has focused almost exclusively on operational efficiency. The next job is going to be to cut embodied carbon. New technology and a broad cultural shift will be required to achieve that particular goal.


A Circular Revolution »

Jan Soukup

Successfully adopting the principles of circular architecture hinges primarily on our ability to change our thinking—both about the architectural design process and building construction practices. Firstly, circularity doesn’t just mean recycling, which is a common misconception. From a number of possible methods, recycling is the last and least convenient. Secondly, no half-measures can be called circular. For example, reusing raw materials or manufacturing residues to make a new product and save primary commodities is definitely laudable. But if the new product can’t be reused or recycled at the end of its life cycle, instead of a circle we reach a dead end, and that’s always good news for the linear economy.

completed project

Embodiment of Circularity. Circl Pavilion in Amsterdam »

Pi de Bruijn, Hans Hammink / de Architekten Cie.

The main purpose of the Circl pavilion, found in Amsterdam’s financial district De Zuidas, is to serve the employees of the client, the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. The project has certain social benefits designed to enrich the users’ work and private lives. Additionally, the aim of the design was to embody the principles of the circular economy. Waste was avoided wherever possible and a number of recycled elements were used in the construction, which can be reused again in the future. All parts of the timber structure have been recorded in a digital database. Drilling into columns and beams was avoided during assembly to increase their reuse potential. Some fixtures like elevators or lights have been leased and will return to their owners after ten years.

kniha interview

The Goal Needs to Be Doing Good, Not Less Bad. Chris Magwood Interviewed by Hana Lesáková »

The Carbon Leadership Forum recently launched its Carbon Smart Building initiative with this bold objective: “We envision a thriving global building industry that safely stores billions of tons of carbon in the built environment every year and makes new and existing buildings carbon neutral in their operation. To realize this vision, we propose to lead the global building industry to transform the built environment worldwide from a carbon source to a carbon sink, by connecting network partners with diverse expertise to execute a coordinated strategy and action plan.” In conversation with Chris Magwood of the Endeavour Centre, we discuss how this industry-wide transformation would look, and in which cases it is already under way.

» entire article
completed project

Railway Farm. Urban Farm with Social Housing in Paris »

Grand Huit, Mélanie Drevet Paysagiste

The Railway Farm is a collaborative project combining urban agriculture and the inclusion of precarious people in Paris. Apart from a productive greenhouse, a permaculture garden and a restaurant serving local produce, it also offers emergency social housing, professional training and on-site jobs. Revitalizing a narrow brownfield site next to a former railway Petite Ceinture (now a promenade) in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, two light-weight wood buildings provide rooms for housing and activities. The load-bearing timber structure is filled with straw bale thermal insulation and protected by external wood cladding. The Railway Farm was selected in the Réinventer Paris competition, a city-wide urban initiative, and was the first project to be completed. It’s also one of the seven finalists for the Mies van der Rohe 2022 award.

completed project

No Need For Corridors. Social Housing Block in Cornellà de Llobregat »

Marta Peris, José Toral / Peris+Toral Arquitectes

The social housing complex in Cornellà de Llobregat, at the edge of the Barcelona metropolitan area, consists of two commercial units on the ground floor and eighty-five social housing units on the five upper levels. Individual apartments are made up from sets of 13 m2 modular spaces and organized around a central rectangular courtyard. In its four corners are situated four vertical communication shafts. Entry to the apartments is from semi-private terraces overlooking the courtyard. Eliminating all corridors guarantees the optimum use of the floor plan and building material—a kitchen in the center of each apartment serves as a circulation space instead. Most interior spaces are walk-through, separated only by cross-shaped CLT partitions. Approximately 8,300 m3 of certified timber from Basque Country forests was used in the construction. The winning design of the 2017 architecture competition, the Cornellà housing complex is one of the seven finalists for the 2022 Mies van der Rohe award.


A Heart of Wood. Oskar Norelius and Robert Schmitz Interviewed by Matěj Čunát »

From mid-January to mid-March, the Jaroslav Fragner Gallery in Prague hosted the exhibition called A Heart of Wood, presenting White Arkitekter’s new cultural center Sara Kulturhus in Sweden. We discussed the highs and lows of building from wood, and the ways in which a life-cycle approach can transform architecture, with the project’s lead architects, Oskar Norelius and Robert Schmitz.

completed project

Side by Side. Sara Cultural Centre and Hotel in Skellefteå »

Oskar Norelius a Robert Schmitz / White Arkitekter

Facing the main town square of Skellefteå, Sweden, the grand, new cultural center topped with a twenty-story hotel showcases its technologically advanced mass timber structure. Sara Kulturhus houses a municipal library, regional theater, museum and an art gallery, which used to be scattered around the town in separate venues. Bringing them together creates a cultural hub for the entire municipality. Raising the bar for environmentally conscious construction, the project uses locally sourced timber for load-bearing structure and interior finishes combined with a ground-breaking energy system, and is expected to become carbon negative within fifty years. The design for Sara Kulturhus emerged from a 2016 international architecture competition. 


Sustainability Certificates: Myths and Facts »

Karolína Barič, Eliška Pomyjová, Alice Boušková

More and more often we read in the descriptions of completed architectural projects that they received a certain sustainability certificate. The American LEED certificate and its British equivalent, BREEAM, are the most common in the Czech Republic. But does it mean these certified buildings are more sustainable compared to others?


The Cycle »

baubüro in situ, Zirkular

The storage hall extension in Winterthur, and all of the work of baubüro in situ in cooperation with Zirkular company in general, is a direct application of circular economy in the construction business. The radical project shows how circular architecture reverses design and construction processes: searching for available materials from local demolished sites comes first, cataloging them comes second, and optimizing and adjusting the design last. This way the design emerges from a constant stream of improvised changes, considerations, and decisions. Compared to a new-build, 60% of greenhouse gas emissions and 500 tonnes of building materials were saved while maintaining standard construction costs. Instead of spending on new materials, the workers received higher wages, because building from recycled components requires professional skill and experience. By supporting local craftsmen, circular architecture increases the sustainability of the local economy.



ES-SO Position Paper on Automated Solar Shading

Štěpánka Lubinová


On the Effect of Windows on Available Daylight

Lenka Maierová, Petra Tvrdá / UCEEB ČVUT


Front Door a Building’s First Impression

Dana Jakoubková

ERA21 vydává ERA Média, s. r. o.
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Projekt se v roce 2024 uskutečňuje za finanční podpory: Ministerstva kultury ČR, Nadace české architektury, Statutárního města Brna a Státního fondu kultury ČR.
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