The energy Building Project

it is a revolution in design and construction of sustainable buildings started years ago By the firm with the aims to rethink the process of design and construction to meet the needs of the modern building development.

This resulted in an innovative disciplinary of integrated sustainable design and construction based on the use of a conscious approach that forges the project around the characteristics of the place in which it is carried out in a constructive manner using its constraints and peculiarities, skilfully mixing different processes of design and construction technologies with the use of tested innovative materials;
A realization that is always characterized by the highest energy performance, formal and constructive quality, low cost of construction and operation
This approach assesses and makes use of all available resources, combining ancient technologies together with highly innovative ones. Their choice and composition ensures the creation of an extremely sustainable realization. All the solutions adopted are transparent to the user, who perceives the benefits of comfort and ease of use satisfying, at the same time, the aesthetic and qualitative expectations.

Each project is conceived to be industrialized and completed at the place of its insertion, to fit in the most transparent way to the context.

The economics of an implementation based on this innovative approach will benefit the client and the user throughout its life cycle which provides a very low cost of operation and maintenance. The aesthetic quality and craftsmanship as well as the social and ecological sustainability are intrinsic in the realization of the project because it is designed to adapt to the context rather than to confront with it.

Healing garden – Nature Care

Despite the long history in the health care, only in recent periods the impact of the natural environments on the health was studied systematically. In the mid-1980s, a holistic approach in medicine reappeared this believe that gardens have an important role in treatment. Perhaps the best example of this study was conducted in 1984 by Roger Ulrich. These studies showed the relationship between the period of treatment, drug usage and access to the nature landscape from the window. According to Ulrich, patients who have a sight to nature, recover faster and need to use less drugs.

“Healing Gardens” is a term which refers to the gardens  that are designed to improve diseases and “Healing” in the context of health care is a broad term and concept that does not necessarily refer to a specific disease and the purpose of healing is the improvement in the mental conditions just the same as physical one. At the moment it is difficult to offer a detailed theory for the comprehensive and precise design of perspective for the health and healing promotion. Also the needs of specific patients are unknown. Whether a design will cure all diseases or different designs for different conditions are required? Moreover, which designing elements have positive impact on the patients’ outcome?

What is a Healing Garden?

According to the researches of Ulrich and others there exists a theory that each garden is a healing one. In order to have a better perception of this sentence a definition is mentioned here: “a garden, a healing station, designed to give people a better feeling”. Traditional healing gardens were within or nearby the medical locations. Healing gardens can be found in mental hospitals, schools and centers for the disabled peoples, nursing homes and clinics. Although a famous example of the healing garden can be found inside or near the hospitals and Alzheimer’s Care Facilities.

The usefulness of the healing garden which is built for patients and the disabled ones is a function of the amount of physical or visual access of the users of these spaces, though even in the therapeutic centers a larger population of employees and visitors, such as the patients or residents of that place use the healing garden. On a larger scale, some believe that any garden can be a healing one and the public can use the healing benefits of these spaces. In this scale green spaces with healing effect should be easily accessible for all the people who are in the countryside.

Principles of a Successful Garden

Healing gardens are effective if they have the following conditions:

1. The sense of control

Patients should easily find the garden and have access to it and use its spaces in active or passive way. The various types of spaces allow users to have a choice and sense of control can be created by engaging users in the design of the garden.

2. Promoting Green Materials

Minimizing the harsh spaces and the dominance of the plant material in the garden, the goal is that harsh spaces contain the one third of the occupied space thus with a soft and pleasant view; patient have an improvements in his good sense.

3. Physical movement and exercise

With a proper design, can encourage the patients to do light exercises and design spaces like walking loops and consider some spaces for children in order to reduce the psychological stress and increase physical activities and games.

4. Access to the Nature and Natural Attractions

Various medicinal herbs that get all the senses are the perfect choice for designing the plant parts. (Figure1) Prickly, poisonous plants and the ones attract annoying insects should not be used. Especially for the gardens that will be used for the children and patients with mental illness.

Forrest McDowell and Tricia Clark-McDowell in the book called The Sanctuary Garden: “the key to a (healing garden) is to honor and celebrate our broader human relationshipwith nature and spirit, not just plants” the nature and spirit, not just plants. This book proposes seven design elements as the strategy for design and as a means of identifying and the space.

  • • Special entrance which invites visitors to the garden.
  • • An element for the water and psychological, emotional and physical impacts
  • • Creative use of color and light (to stir emotion or surprise visitor)
  • • Garden integrity to enhance the spirit of garden
  • • The shape and composition of the garden that will attracts birds and the settlement provides a settlement for the variety of birds.

Designing Healing Garden

In order to design healing garden the considerations that are used for other gardens is taken into account design that can be used for other applications. But, the following considerations are used for certain healing environments.

  • • It is essential that the space should be functional because the garden should adapt itself with the of space limitations of the users.
  • • It is important that the design of garden should be in such a way that its physical health and therapeutic benefits can be maintained especially in an organization like a hospital, the maintainability of the garden is important since poor maintenance can reduce patients’ trust to this issue that they are not nursed well.
  • • Healing gardens are created to provide a refreshing environment and to have a restoration impact on the users. If garden is not visually appealing it would not be successful.

Also below designing principles are necessary for the design of healing garden and to create an integrated environment

  • • Simplicity in design of healing garden is an essential element, thus the space is perceived easily. Many people, who use the healing garden, are dealing with great stresses, thus the space should be in a way that does not add to the stress. It should be designed in a variety of shapes, textures, colors and should also have seasonal variations to stir up the feelings. In the case of not providing sufficient relish for the users of space, confusion and distress can be caused.
  • • Creating balance is important, no difference whether symmetric or asymmetric one. So the space can be as a sustained whole.
  • • Use of evidence, emphasis, sample, group planting, in order to emphasize on the importance of space which provides a focal point to help the people in navigation.

Create a hierarchy or a smooth transition from one area to another. This is especially good for creating a good and easy moving stream from a public to privacy place which is important to create a more private place.

In addition to the design principles, the following list of suggestions is provided for roads and levels in the healing garden, which are actually guidelines.

  • • At least 5 feet wide sidewalks for one-sided pass to match up with the rotation angle of wheelchairs. Two wheelchairs to pass, at least 7 feet wide is needed.
  • • make a difference in the texture of the pavement edge to help people who have low- vision, in order to notice the edges of pavement. The raised edges of sidewalks can be dangerous.
  • • The materials that make up much radiation should be avoided. Concrete can cause difficulty for the elderly people. It’s better to use colored concrete.
    • • Pavement slope should not exceed 5%. Transverse slope should not be more than 2%.

Healing garden designed for specific users

Children’s Garden

  • • Entries that are pleasant and welcomed by children
  • • providing separate spaces for preadolescent / adolescent groups, if appropriate.
  • • Create a comfortable social environment with large spaces, for families and staff, to spend time with the kids.

• Where possible, provide great choices for kids thus they can have reaction with nature through the senses and activities.

Garden for treating Alzheimer’s

  • • Sidewalks should be a continuous loop without dead-end.
  • • Create a non-toxic ways.
  • • using herbs and other elements which stimulate, memory, conversations and activity
  • • The use of color, texture and shapes to create a calm environment.
  • • Use of clue such as statues, flowers, water combines to help the navigation of spaces.

Sanatorium Garden

  • • create a natural relaxing space in the garden (Figure2)
  • • Create a quiet space to sit and ponder
  • • To encourage people to touch things in the garden, use the plants and structures with different textures
    • • Create a view of window for the people who cannot go out.
    • • Creating the water combinations. Water is a soothing agent. Water also creates a place for contemplation, thinking or meditation. (see below)

    

 

 

 

 

 

friendship garden

 

garden for dreams and thinking

 

 

 

 

 

Garden for the low- vision and blind people

  • • In order to help them for finding their way the edges of the garden should be smooth and should be layout with right angles. Complex patterns and curves should be avoided.
  • • Use signs to help with navigation. Some guiding examples can be tactile plants or aromatic ones, decorations or furniture, sound factor like the sound of the falling water or wind, pavement materials such as gravel or tree bark.
    • • Use vivid colors and rough materials for the reference point for partially sighted people.
    • • Spreading fragrance in different places of the garden and at different times of the year. Many fragrances can also cause dizziness and prevent the navigation.
    • • Use tissue changes, to represent changes in pavement. (Figure4)

 

 Therapeutic landscape designed for people with vision loss, outside London, England

Conclusion

According to the above mentioned issues it can be perceived that the people’ preferences of scenery emphasize that natural landscapes have qualities which satisfy the biological needs of humans. The innate linkage of human with nature can cause some contacts with the natural world to directly affect the health. In healing garden, activities should also be considered as much as the perception and feeling. Although it is extremely difficult to achieve a balance between experience in the garden and work in the garden but to achieve this balance, the designer should consider that the garden is designed for which group of people and should be aware of their mental abilities. Healing garden should be able to establish a positive relationship with the visitor depending on the stress level of visitors; garden should have different areas with different characteristics: relaxed, wild, diverse with various plants, public space, happy and cultural spaces. Finally, a healing garden, like all parks and gardens should be accessible to all the people.


References

Betsy Severtsen, “Healing garden”, available on the internet: zallio.hollosite.com

Cooper Marcus and Marni Barnes, 1999,”Healing Garden, Therapeutic benefit and design recommendation.”

Jean Larson, Mary Jo Kreitzer, “Healing by Design: Healing Gardens and Therapeutic Landscapes”, InformeDesign, VOL. 02 ISSUE 10

Ulrika A. Stigsdotter and Patrik Grahn, 2003, “Experiencing a Garden: A Healing Garden for People Suffering from Burnout Diseases, JOURNAL OF THERAPEUTIC HORTICULTURE

Ulrika A. Stigsdotter and Patrik Grahn, “What Makes a Garden a Healing Garden?”, Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture

Terry Hartig, Clare Cooper Marcus, 2006, “Healing gardens—places for nature in health care”.

 

Abu Dhabi a gateway for renewable energy

ABU DHABI May 11, 2013:  Organizers of World Future Energy Summit Show (WFES) in Abu Dhabi, outlined the significant business opportunities that the Middle East region and the UAE in particular offer to renewable and energy-efficient technology providers during a recent visit to Tokyo. 

 Rising energy needs, adoption of energy efficient-solutions and the scope of renewable energy as an increasingly popular means to power the region were addressed. 

By 2020, Abu Dhabi has committed to producing 7 per cent of its energy through renewable sources, while Dubai has committed to producing approximately 5 per cent of its energy through solar power set by 2030. 

As one of the world’s leading producers of oil and gas, Abu Dhabi is investing heavily in renewable and sustainable energy knowledge, technology and capacity. A prime example of the Abu Dhabi’s unrelenting commitment is the creation of Masdar City, an emerging global clean-technology cluster and special economic zone in Abu Dhabi.  Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted renewable energy company will once again host the seventh World Future Energy Summit from 20-22 January 2014. The 2013 event attracted 91 official government delegations at the opening ceremony and over 25,000 attendees from 155 countries. WFES is an important global event that brings together world leaders, policy makers, business leaders, financiers and entrepreneurs to address the key issues affecting the future of energy.

may 30th 2013 – A++ Abu Dhabi comes to life!

We welcome the new A++ Abu Dhabi branch among our big family!!

After a long history of A++ project work in the Middle East that includes thousands of square meters of mixed-use properties working with various developers including Emaar, Seasif and Nakheel, the new Abu Dhabi’s office will be up and running very soon. Ongoing project works range from master plans for residential and office towers in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai. The A++ Abu Dhabi office of locally experienced architects and technical staff offers clients increased production capabilities. Niko Sandro Alvarez, who is the Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi office, brings his previous experience with the design of large retail, entertainment and mixed-use projects.

As well as developing architecture and interior projects with a conventional approach, and characterized with the look and taste that has made the firm renewed  internationally , the A++ Abu Dhabi office has the main aim of developing the implementation of X new projects in the area of gulf that aims to revolutionize the approach to design and sustainable building, as a result of the work developed by A + + in the last three years and that will be brought to light in the coming months.

This innovative project will spark a new light and will open up tremendous opportunities for developers of the area of the Middle East.

New mongolian sustainable living standards

A++ is in an advance phase of designing and almost ready for the development of a set of highly efficient modular homes for the mongolian government to set new living standards for the people of Ulaanbaatar. The recipients of this new dwell is the people currently living in YURTAS, the traditional wood and felt tent that has been used for centuries by the nomadic population of mongolia and that today, due to the massive migration towards the cities and the and the effective end of the nomadic life, loses its meaning and function.
the new home follows a process that rethinks the design and building process to respond to a wider sustainability criterion and to be equally responsive to environmental, qualitative, aesthetic and social Issues, without compromises, to provide a quality realization to a more broad audience, through the optimizing the costs of constraint and the use of local materials, manpower and resources in accordance with the most current technologies.

 

The house is designed, industrialized and completed in place of his final implementation, in order to fit into the context and the local needs and standards, while comply with new international regulations to reduce building short and long term costs and minimizing maintenance. This methodology provides a considerable advantage to local businesses, with which we develop relationships of partnership for labor, production of building materials, the assembly of finite elements and technical support to local governments, effectively providing support to a social and economic grow of the local community.

the Estia method empowers a design process that evaluates and make use of all available technologies combining millenary application together with highly innovative ones. their choice and composition ensures the creation of an Energy Efficient Envelopes without compromising on functional or aesthetic characteristics.
All these solutions are transparent to the user, who perceives the benefits of comfort and ease of use while limiting and often eliminating the need for human intervention also in terms of maintenance.

The modules will be built with the use of mostly local material such as mass providing stones, cold formed steel structures and wool scraps for thermal insulation, assembled with new technology and methodology and will be fitted with new means of heating that uses a new patented technology of deep geothermal probes that allow for the provision of heating energy to a high number of homes with a single borehole.

The shape, size and orientation of each house is designed to respond to its relative to sun, dominant winds and surroundings and the walls are fitted with solar gain elements to increase the thermal efficiency of the envelope. shape and composition of walls and windows as well as the roof inclination are designed specifically to adapt to geographical orientation and the home, which will have a price that it is considerably lower then standard construction methods, is proven to meet and exceed the stringent european standards of efficiency and it is undergoing the process of its leed certification.

china sustainable revolution

A++ is opening its doors to the chinese community.
With so many environmental failures leading to social instability, China have begun to understand that changes need to be made in order to effectively address its sustainability challenges.
A++ and its valuable Chinese partner will employ all the available tools to play, for as little as it might be, a role in a process that has already begun, primarily in areas where economic development is the most advanced, and involves policies, technological solutions, and awareness and engagement campaigns.
The translation of our site it is our first step to share our vision to chinese speaking people,in the quest of a better and sustainable world.

Sustainable beauty or beautiful sustainability?

Nowadays, the traditional criterion for judging design, such cost, performance and aesthetics is being redefined by the introduction of the concept of sustainable design.

Many professionals dismiss this issue by stating that green and sustainability have nothing to do with Architecture and the term “sustainable” has the reputation to be a matter of substance and not of style.

Sustainability is believed to be bounded exclusively to energy efficiency, carbon emission and material chemistry and as a result, many consider green design a technological matter rather that a creative process leading to something that could be inherently beautiful and, truly, we can argue that our experience has taught us that most sustainable design is inevitably unattractive.

The issue here is to be able to use all possible skills, to produce something that is as sustainable as possible without compromising on its aesthetic values. Yes but how?

 

Originally, the concept of sustainability promised to broaden the purpose of contemporary design, specifically by adding ethic to aesthetic; this approach failed, and ethic took over the place of aesthetic by providing clear and compelling standards for its implementation without giving guidelines for this to go along with the process of beautiful design.

The mistake in this approach lies in the misleading conviction that attractiveness is not essential to sustainability.We need to create a different approach to our consideration of the beauty of a realization and consider aesthetic as the result of testing and research as much as sustainable solutions are. Many study demonstrate the effectiveness and the benefit hidden behind a procedure or a material, but many other show that shapes, pattern and texture, can create environmental, social and economic value.Green procedures and technique can be both invisible and visible.The first are those that relies on the environmental performance of the building and do not concur on the final look of the realization, the visible one affect the form, shape and image directly.Although the enviable ones can be easier to control and measure, the visible can have an even greater impact on both conservation and well being of the inhabitant. The shape of a building has great impact on its performance so much so that over 90% of the product environmental impact is determined during its shaping phase; isn’t it enough to consider aesthetic an integral part of conceiving a sustainable building?Lets start considering aesthetic and sustainable design as bound together and beauty intrinsically part of the basic principles of sustainability, and develop a more rational approach to beauty by merging techniques and material innovation with the human millennial knowledge and research on the methods and technique to create a graceful interaction between the environment and its user:

Isn’t this the definition of architecture?

Architects should develop ways for a societal valuation of their building plans by future users, neighbors and others, making them adaptable and integral part of their surroundings by implementing aesthetic and sustainability as adjoining paths to be walked contemporaneously.

 

Eco Design Solutions

Architecture, urban planning, design and technology have as its primary goal to improve our living conditions based on quality. Over time has often happened that in reaching this goal has sacrificed an important asset, the environment. From several years is greatly increased sensitivity to the relationship between quality of life and health of the environment.
There is much talk of ecology and sustainability, particularly in design today is designing and creating functional objects, and respectful of the ecosystem, for example by recycling materials, devising ways to ensure maximum energy savings by adopting technologies that use renewable and non-polluting energy, without sacrificing the comfort and progress.
The uses and the examples are many: Sunglasses that convert solar energy into electricity to power iPods and cell phones, dishes made from biodegradable materials, bicycles and solar car, building coatings with high thermal efficiency, technical recycling water used for sanitary and irrigation equipment, shoes that fulfilled their life cycle biodegrade and sprout, furniture, chairs and armchairs in a sturdy corrugated cardboard, chandeliers made entirely with recycled Bic pens …
The goal is to raise awareness that our every gesture and every one of our single choice (from grocery shopping), determine a definite impact on the environment depending on the way in which we perform.
It ‘s necessary to optimize fuel consumption and at the same time significantly reduce waste.
Focusing for example on the amount of plastic bottles that are thrown away every day you realize that for that bottle we pay twice, once when we buy it and one when we dispose it. Would not it be easier and cheaper for everyone to drink the tap water, constantly monitored and analyzed?

An example of sustainable design in all its phases is the tree-shirt, a shirt to plant a tree, a T-shirt designed by Vivienne Westwood. This is a new project for Green UP sponsored by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) to raise the public awareness of deforestation and to raise money for reforestation European Union.
The design created by the designer has been printed on T-shirts donated by Anvil Eco T-Shirt Collec, knitwear that has patented a fabric for shirts made from recycled plastic PET bottles and cotton grown on farms that have implemented a process to become organically certified, and each chapter contains a QR code which allows access to all information regarding the Green Up program. Revenues will be allocated to plantation forestry in Europe: a T-shirt is equivalent to planting a new tree.
As stressed by Vivienne Westwood, during the press conference at the launch of the Tree-shirts are designed to provoke and inspire a new way of thinking. The antidote to consumerism and climate change is the culture.

anvilknitwear.com 

 www.unep.org/greeneconomy