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Aspect’s of human life improvement


Marcin Osiecki via University College Denmark Bachelor of architectural Technology and Construction Management consultant: Bo Riisbjerg Thomsen January 2009

Sustainability. aspect’s of human life improvement. Marcin Osiecki, 2009 via University College, Horsens, Denmark Language: English (UK) 3 copies This work is licenced under the Creative Commons attribution-NonCommercial-Share alike 2.5 Denmark License. To view a copy of this licence, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California 94105, USa. Note: This dissertation was compiled as part of an architectural Technology and Construction Management degree course - no responsibility is taken for any advice, instruction or conclusion given within!

1. abstract 1.1. Key words 2. introduction 2.1 Problem statements 3. Sustainability in urban design 3.1 Cyclist-friendly Copenhagen 3.2 Hammarby Sjöstad 3.3 Housing in Malmö 4. Sustainability in building design 4.1 Building with the land 4.2 Copenhagen multi-storey house 5. Sustainability in product design 5.1 Skipwaste 5.2 Urban play – Moving Forest 6. Sustainable materials 6.1 Polycarbonate 6.2 Gabions 6.3 Grass 7. Focus on the future 8. Summary of working process 9. Conclusions 9.1 Criticism 10. List of references 11. List of illustrations 4 4 5 7 9 9 10 10 14 14 16 22 22 24 29 29 1 1    4 5 6

1. abstract
A wide definition of sustainability includes the design of the total built environment. Report focuses on the definition from the macro level of urban design to the micro level of sustainable materials. Sustainability was shown as a way of human and society well-being improvement. idea for that thesis comes from the project of Oliver Bishop Young Skipwaste - containers usually used as a trash on the building sites were transferred into small swimming pools. By gathering examples from different countries, report tries to summarize everyday experiences on a country, society, city, building and product level. as a challenge - to show the scope of the sustainable signs in modern society.

1.1. Key words
Sustainability, sustainable architecture, sustainable urban design, sustainable building design, sustainable materials, environmental aspects


2. introduction
Definition of sustainability changed many times and still evaluates. That report from my subjective point shows topic ‘sustainability’ on different levels. it begins from the widest scale - sustainable urban design, and goes gradually into more detailed one - sustainable materials. idea for that thesis comes from the project Skipwaste (cover and chapter 5.1) where trash containers were transferred into swimming pools. it shows direct connection between sustainable product and impact into users entertainment. Sustainability is a broad categorization, with no single formal, spatial or theoretical typology. a wide spectrum of design philosophies may be included. Sustainability may be shown in more scientific way - like self-sufficient zero-energy houses. Subject can be also shown in more poetic view - creating a context for experiencing nature. I’d tried to show sustainability in it’s wide definitions, therefore both of the aspects merging between whole thesis. Once seen as being outside of the design mainstream, sustainability is now the fastest growing segment of the industry. More and more, sustainable monographs urge us to rethink how products are designed and manufactured. The design industry has discovered that sustainable living environments may be the most direct way to reach the public. as an example Hammarby Sjöstad may be mentioned (chapter 3.2). Practices such a as prefabrication and modular assembly promote affordability. New materials and technologies based on renewable resources offer improved building performance in the area of safety, durability and material strength. i think modern public interest goes toward making sustainability the norm. This thesis examines recent architectural and design investigations into sustainability in the context of urban, building and material scale - gathering examples around the Europe. Conservation of a building site (chapter 4.1) is just the firs step in an approach to design that is often termed “minimal impact”. This idea extended strategies throughout design, building, and occupancy to reduce the effect of architecture on the land, from the house footprint to altered site conditions, from the use of site resources to the production of waste (chapter 4.2) Study of sustainable residential or storage space can include environmentally responsible materials. Renewable materials like wood are popular since they may be easily regrown. The use of wood, however, should follow investigations about the source. Certificate wood assures, that material comes from tree farms or plantations that have replaced natural forests - a process that destroys the natural ecosystems. i’ve decided to focus more on modern materials - such as polycarbonate facades (chapter 6.1) and try to investigate it’s sustainable approach.


Sustainable design is not centric in any fashion. it should mimic nature, where each action facilitates life’s cycle. Comparison between the life cycle of the nature and building construction can be done.1 The seed of a tree lies in its fruit, which is the food for the animal that may find shelter under the tree. The animal’s waste not only helps spread the seed but also may fertilize the earth to encourage their growth. Every design of nature involves the entire environment and in some way sustains it.2 There is no simple list of elements that must be included in the design of a sustainable solution. Every design must be appropriate for it’s needs, budget, goals. i may list a few criteria according to which we can judge a potential for sustainability. 1. The design should consider the resources required for the construction and operation (usage). Homes that are well insulated are all good examples of meeting those criteria. As highly energy efficient structure is a model of a sustainable home that takes into account limited resources (like electricity, water) 2. The design should promote material usage that are better for the environment. Product’s free of toxic (paint, covering materials, carpets) are healthier for occupants. Those product’s also promotes healthier industry - which doesn’t pollute planet. Designing a house with ‘gray water’ treatment can be also an example. 3. Homes can express the approach for sustainable design. Therefore may be a good example as an educational instrument. The design may highlight the surrounding natural landscape (chapter 4.1) or provide the inspiration for the others (GlashausEtt. at chapter 3.2) 4. The design should consider the future of the home. Sustainable homes or products are constructed or produced in such a way as to easily permit reuse of the building for other purposes. another option would be components which are easily unmounted or reused in future constructions. My interest lies around the topic because of my background experiences on faculty of architecture in Poland. as a student i am mostly interested in a design side of architecture. This report was written as a part of the final semester of education as Bachelor of architectural Technology and Construction Management.

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Trulove, J. (2001) Hot Dirt Cool Straw, p. 8 Folowing Dennis Wedlick

2.1 Problem statements
The questions which i would like to remind while whole report is - how could be a human life improved by using sustainable solutions? What is the scope of the sustainable signs in modern society? Finally, what grants the city, building or specific material to be called sustainable?


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3. Sustainability in urban design
3.1 Cyclist-friendly Copenhagen
Copenhagen can be definitely described as a cyclist friendly city3. The city provides public bicycles which can be found throughout the down town area and used with a returnable deposit of 20DKK. Those rules are similar as using a shelter in hypermarket. The Copenhagen’s bicycle paths are extensive and well-used. Bicycle paths are often separated from the main traffic lanes and sometimes have their own signal systems. Municipalities also developed a special tour guides4 for cyclist. Everyone can tour among modern architecture or part of Copenhagen. it is also a way of popularise city’s architecture, healthy way of living and spending spare time. Copenhagen’s well-developed bicycle culture has given rise to the term ‘copenhagenize5‘. This is the practise of other cities adopting Copenhagen-style bike lanes and bicycle infrastructure. Term has become more popular after urban re-development in Melbourne, australia. Up to 32% of people commuting to work by bicycle6. This is one of the most cheapest, quickest and most comfortable way of transport in the city. Biking is even quicker than travelling by bus on longer distances. it may bring a extraordinary situations. When car parking is expensive, inhabitants driving with their own bikes. They’re parking their cars at the suburbs of the city and biking home afterwards. Biking culture is also connected with special bike parking arranged around the most crowded parts of the city. Main train station is fit out with the multileveled bikes parking. it allows inhabitants even another Danish cities to leave the bike at the train station and get around without using public transport. The 1st of October was the day when municipalities shut down7 one of the most busy streets for cars, Nørrebrogade, Copenhagen N. The street is one of the main thoroughfares of the capital - and it will be permanently closed for three months. That will improve bus and bicycle traffic - and normally it is around 17000 private cars, 33000 cyclists and 65000 bus passengers each day. The municipality of Copenhagen hopes that shutting down the street will remove 40%-50% of the private cars. Those reasons influence into the choice of Copenhagen as ‘the most liveable city’ on the list of Top 25 Most Liveable Cities prepared by Monocle magazine8. Copenhagen has been listed also as a best designed city of 2008. Municipalities organizes a one-day happenings when citizens can also roller-scatting thorough the city. Scaters are crowded with the Danish policy patrols. City’s traffic capacity is enough to deal with all problems connected with that kind of happening.

3 iCLEi “Cities Enjoy Bicycles” awards for bicycle-friendly cities 4 Cykelture at 5 [01/11-2008] 6 according to Wikipedia [01/11-2008] 7 according to POLiTiKEN [01/112008] 8 Monocle issue 15, volume 02, July 2008 9

3.2 Hammarby Sjöstad
Following the official statement Municipality of Stockholm: “Originally planned as part of Stockholm’s sustainable bid for the 2004 Olympics the development has retained a strong emphasis on ecology and environmental sustainability. The project has already delivered homes for almost 10,000 people in a neighbourhood and will deliver 9,000 homes and 10,000 jobs by 2015.” From the urbanizes point of view this new part of the city has been developed by using modern design techniques. Main principle is to face the buildings towards the water. The heights of the buildings and the length was adapted to keep the view and improving recreation. The central water-tower makes a concentrated visual park - the blue eye of the city. important point in urban development was to keep diversity and differ the whole plot. as the eco-slogans are becoming more and more popular, different sustainable applications were made. Balconies and terraces, large glazed areas, and green roofs were proposed. Green roofs onto the buildings merging with a pattern of parks. To popularize environmental friendly solutions, public transport should be as much accessible as possible. To reduce car usage bike lanes, buses and Tvärbanan were implemented. Moreover the light rail line that forms a central link with four stops along the main boulevard through Hammarby Sjöstad. as a symbol of sustainable approach, there is an information point called GlashausEtt. it serves the environmental demonstrations and may be a learning center for residents and visitors. it has also solar cells implemented onto the roof. That kind of centre is a good example of popularize eco-friendly living style among inhabitants. it’s also a place for testing a usage of solar cells (elevators supplied by solar energy).

3.3 Housing in Malmö
around Malmö harbour huge housing development has been erected lately. it is called Future City to bold the authors approach to sustainable development. it has been made with cooperation with United Kingdom construction companies. it was also a initiative for UK-Sweden cooperation in sustainable constructions9. The Bo01 development in Malmö has delivered a distinctive, resource efficient and liveable place with 500 homes, commercial and community facilities. The high quality design was achieved through the ‘quality programme’, a steering instrument for planning and building. Different points were included in the urban design programme. it includes even the house arranging in the way to keep the wind out of the interior space of the housing area. Five-storey blocks in front of the sea, further protecting inner buildings. There was also sea-front promenade design. Sustainability has ben also created by varied forms of onplot vegetation such as green walls and roofs. it is mainly use to reduce the amount of water which has to be drained by the sever systems. it also creates more human-looking environment while whole housing development is used for recreation purposes.

9 10 [05/11-2008]


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a 100% local renewable energy approach10 adopted in the development has been successful. Buildings are arranged in a way to gain natural solar heating as much as possible. in addition, solar thermal panels, wind turbines and photovoltaic help minimise energy use. Bo01 residents are encouraged to regularly monitor their energy consumption. Electronic devices installed in private apartments are able to show energy consumption and visualize inhabitants daily usage of energy. it can helps keeping energy consumption on low level. in my opinion sustainability doesn’t have to mean just the newest developments. as a sustainable urban design i can treat an approach to keeping the old housing area in a balanced way. it means protecting the old single family housing build along the main pedestrian streets. it can also mean maintaining those houses in a modern way. Malmö can be a good example of keeping the 100 years old traditional houses in a modern urban design. Satellite view shows the old city of Malmö. Marked red point is the place where photos has been snapped. all streets marked by orange colour are fit out with the oldest single-familly houses. Yellow colour is used to show the modern pedestrian paths, which basically begins at the train station, goes farther by the city square Stortorget, to finally reach the new urban development behind the amiralsgatan bridge. Strong grid created by those two perpendicular movements is visible. Sustainable development means here to develop main pedestrian streets and maintain the oldest parts kept close to the monastery (museum nowadays). in my opinion municipalities keeps an eye on keeping the city in right, balanced conditions. Unfortunately accidents happens - like modern block of flats which can’t anyhow fits to the 100 years old compact settlement.

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according [05/11-2008]

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4. Sustainability in building design
4.1 Building with the land
The House in Wales project completed in 1996 is an brilliant example of building with the land. Main metal construction of the house and also almost all architectural details are hidden under the ground. The authors - Future Systems - objective was to minimise the visual impact of the building and to site it in a way that makes the house appear as natural part of the landscape. views of the house are therefore only of grasses and the transparent glass walls outlined only by a slim stainless steel trim. almost untouched surrounding hide the house from the unexpected visitors. The roof is a plywood aerofoil construction covered with turf. That kind of house design can be treated as a sustainable, in a sense of melting with the landscape. interior temperature can be naturally maintained by the ground covered the whole house around. a minimisation of insulation material and using a soil cover - the simplest way of keeping the heat inside the house - can be an aim for the future developments. Of course it doesn’t mean that we should come back to the simplest constructions hidden underground. That kind of housing also reflects the client’s way of living. Are they a ecological freaks or rather a fans of untouched natural surrounding? is it the most comfortable plot for building the single-family house? How the plot is supported by district water? In my opinion inhabitants are definitely not the fans of simple, countryside living style based on self-production of vegetables. it’s not the best place to construct the house fully supported by the surrounded conveniences either. But the untouchable surrounding and the widest possible view from one side of the house - may substitute inconveniences. ‘Building site conservation’ is a term to use when talking about the construction of a building, since the process involves disturbing existing ecosystems. How does the building conserve a site, when, by its very nature, it occupies a footprint on the land? The architects find the last damaging way to erect the house, minimizing excavation. Their design impact the existing site very little once constructed. it shows an respect for the surrounded land and sustainable approach of the whole project.


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4.2 Copenhagen multi-storey house
i would like to focus on traditional multi-storey housing build in Copenhagen between 1850 and 1910. Significant elements of that kind of housing type are: division into two apartments on each sto-rey, roof storey (usually apartment on that storey), kitchen without toilet in each apartment, double wooden staircase. Facades and construction based on brick, wooden construction of the ‘cold’ roof, frequently skylights. Those houses were mostly 5-storey and arranged in one row along the streets. it was typical, that every inhabitant has its own closet in the basement. Unfortunately Copenhagen multi-storey house wasn’t isolated enough to keep properly the heat inside. Homogeneous brick wall as an external division was not enough to protect in winter time. Therefore heating up those con-structions was energy-expensive comparatively to nowadays standards. i would like to focus on tradition of refurbishment of multi-storey houses. Once build, houses were kept - in my opinion - by brilliant maintenance. Wooden frames can be used still after around 100 years. Brick facades needs only cleaning by the water to keep the tasteful look. Ceramic tiles were in so good quality, which can be still used. Rotten rafters needs to be partly changed, but it doesn’t need to be permanently reconstructed. Refurbishment focus mostly on interiors and insulation to provide nowadays energy level standards. Cold, drinkable water has been delivered to each apartment. a small service pipe was installed into the buildings and a single “riser pipe” in the kitchen supplied the kitchen’s cold water tap over the sink. Toilets were placed mostly at the courtyard, sometimes public urinals were installed at the staircase. The reuse of the drainage installations in larger renovation projects comprising the estab-lishment of bathrooms is usually realistic only in cases where the existing toilet installations and/or kitchen installations are retained in an unchanged condition. Total replacement of the WC’s is necessary in connection with the renovation of the building. What can be called sustainable in refurbishment of copenhagen multi-storey house? Water usage minimized by the building services arrangement and dWellings renovation. House-hold water usage in Denmark has declined 26% . Water savings were caused by new installations (e.g. shower and toilets), water savings campaigns and a higher awareness of the environment among customers, combined with a rise in the water price. By keeping just one sink in one apartment inhabitants automatically had to save the water. Temporary showers, as far as being not the most comfortable way of taking bath, lowered water usage. Common habit of not using running water while cleaning also brings lower water consumption. in comparison to other European countries Denmark has the lowest water losses. high quality of construction materials. it means that once refurbished, apartments can be used for the next hundred years. Maintaining and repairing in a proper way create a huge savings for environment. Energy used to destroy 16

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and build again new apartments can be used in more proper way. it also means that lower amount of newly produced building materials is in use. laundering. The re-arrangement of bathrooms in elderly apartment buildings is one of the highest technically demanding operations. Often there is only space for a little, inner lying bathroom without sufficient possibilities for washing and tumble drying machines. Ecologically speaking – the best solution is an implementation of common laundry in the building cellar. Mainly because more clothes per litre water and per kilo washing powder can be washed. Pollution by chemicals is less and is more concentrated just in one part of the construction.

4.3 Water house
The simplest water house could be a boat refurnished and attached to the pier. Plenty of that kind of constructions can be observed at Copenhagen harbour. inhabitants don’t have to pay for a plot, as long as harbour usage is for free. it’s also a brilliant opportunity to live close to the city centre without so high prices. Living on a boat attracts many people - they are able to create whole habitats of floating houses or share one huge boat like in multi-storey house. If permanently attached to the harbour, houses have their own address and post-case. Water houses and water lifestyle living is natural progression of waterways of Dutch cities. Many such residences now seem closer to floating buildings than to boats, and even include multiple dwelling units. Unlike a boat, those constructions can be insulated and supported by all the district pipes similar like on the land. Floating houses are also movable – without spending huge effort whole construction can be pushed to another place or just rotated to change the views. i was observing handmade houseboats in Copenhagen. in the part of the city called Christiania inhabitants have used plastic containers for creating a floating structure. instead of water inside plastic storage tank, empty can carry the weight of the small house. Sustainable aspects of that kind of experimental structures are strongly visible. Using ‘prefabricated’ elements for foundation means lowering the costs. Handmade wooden structures are ‘produced’ already by the environment. Of course i can’t encourage everyone to change lifestyle in a way of Christiania. Ecological footprint is now widely used around the globe as an indicator of environmental sustainability. it can be used to measure and manage the use of resources throughout the economy. it is commonly used to explore the sustainability of individual lifestyles, goods and services, organizations, industry sectors, neighbourhoods, cities, regions and nations. The word ‘footprint’ is used generically to refer to human impact on the planet and can be calculated for individual people. The Ecological Footprint of a person is calculated by considering all of the biological materials consumed, and all of the biological wastes generated, by that person in a given year. These materials and wastes each demand ecologically productive areas, such as cropland to grow potatoes, or forest to sequester 18

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carbon dioxide emissions. all of these materials and wastes are then individually translated into an equivalent number of global hectares. The sum of the global hectares needed to support the resource consumption and waste generation of the person gives that person’s total Ecological Footprint.11 The largest reductions in Ecological Footprint can most commonly be achieved by reducing the total amount of materials consumed, rather than attempting to recycle them afterwards. From the other point of view, Ecological footprint measurements seems to be too simplified and therefore having plenty of opponents. If I can express my opinion - it’s obvious that environment usage of person living in houseboat or even in handmade houseboat is noticeably lower than the averge.

4.4 ‘Do it Yourself’ house
For the best examples of handmade, self-designed architecture i can refer to the examples from Białystok, Poland. Hubert Trammer – one of my teachers at the school of architecture did an interesting comparison of modern architecture designed by Herzog&deMeuron and handmade single-family houses in Poland (fig. 12). Both of the buildings were designed by using roofing felt (tar paper) as a glazing of façade. Another given example was a temporary garage (fig. 13) which walls were made of re-used metal radiators. What’s interesting – that material was used in skilful way! Three levels of radiators and the fourth one cut into two to create support for a pitched roof. Those examples may show polish architecture ‘power of weakness‘. i will not encourage anyone to use above solutions as the best building design. Structures made by unqualified ‘architects’ may create an uncountable amount of damages - into the environment or into the people who are living in. Moreover it’s denied by the low to build without permission. i would like to focus on other aspects of ‘Do it Yourself’ architecture. Usually under economy restrictions, value of architecture may be created by simple and clever solutions. This may happened in Herzog&deMeuron photographic studio in Weil am Rhein, Switzerland. Only backyard façade is covered by cheaper material (roofing felt) – front entrance has been designed by using metal sheets. Lowering the material costs may influence onto the building size. While manufactured in a proper way, can be brilliant idea for simplifying solutions and materials implemented into the build-ing. Sustainability appears in material usage and cost lowering. Walls constructed by the metal radiators are a way of re-using the building components in another way. Looking quite awkward, but it’s a way of recycling by a minimum cash resource usage. it proofs that poles elaborate creativity while communism (part of the history of the country, until ‘80) and it stills remain in our society. as another example of re-usage of building components i can describe an 11 according to methodology of calculating Ecological Footprint, http://www. 21

import of windows from Germany. When the building technicians decide that plastic windows are enough exploit, they are utilizing those by sending to Poland. For a reasonable price Poles can buy and re-use old plastic windows at their homes. it interferes with a look of the façade into horrible way - usually the size of imported window is smaller than the span designed by architect. Without focus on aesthetic poles can re-use plastic windows – with also good consequences for environment.

5. Sustainability in product design
5.1 Skipwaste
On the front cover of this publication the ‘skipwaste’ project is shown. it’s an idea project, that a skip containers used usually on the building site can be also used for other purposes. By using simple materials everyone can convert ugly metal container into e.g. swimming pool. 12 If you need to put a skip in the road, you must first apply to the Council for a permit. Skip owners or suppliers who are issued with a permit to put skips in the road are responsible for ensuring that: skips are positioned on the road. Skips placed on the road must not contain any inflammable, explosive, toxic or other dangerous materials. Hopefully keeping all of the restrictions is enough easy to transform container into garden, small lounge or skate ramp. Unfortunately, you can temporary apply for a skip. Period varies between countries legislations (28 days in Great Britain), but basically the owner has to renew his application after fixed period. Without approval skip must be properly disposed of. Skipwaste project is a brilliant example of sustainability – smart re-usage of typical element can improve human life in a great way. Extending the space in front of homes can be done in a cheap way, by using ordinary materials and made by inhabitants in a quick way. as a base of sustainability, project gathers ecological, social and economic aspect. it also shows direct connection between sustainable product and impact into users entertainment. From the other hand, re-usage of waste containers is very rarely seen, it’s also very difficult encourage people to stay inside that kind of metal box. Those who are enough brave and didn’t posses knowledge about original purpose of container may use that swimming pools on the public street. Questionable is frequency of using that object. Container has to be refilled with pure water before every bath. it means huge waste of water and also emptying of the container is problematic. Ca. 400 litres of pure water is quite high and exceed the normal water usage of average single family house.

12 More examples and ideas for waste containers available at designer’s homepage also map of all places where containers are in use. 22

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5.2 Urban play – Moving Forest
Urban Play is an international project by Droog Design amsterdam. it’s a project where creative individuals from all around the world can exhibit their urban inventions. Conceived and curate by Scott Burnham, Droog Event 2: Urban Play is a project that believes this street-level inventiveness is a window into a new form of creativity and urbanism in the city. Moving Forest is a project by NL architects. Designed for Urban Play show, is rather a manifesto for a modern over-designed centres of the city than a finished project. 100 trees strapped into 100 shopping-carts lurking around in an urban environment blocking peoples way and forcing passers to act on them. Trolleys were used as a bowl for plants. Placed along the pedestrian streets, are movable in the same way as inside the hypermarket. Every part of that urban artwork is common and ordinary – but not when used together. The idea comes from a story about a forest where the trees move at night so that people would loose there way and could never get out. after the period of 6 weeks when the festival is over, the trees will be sold on to citizens and find a new home. At last then designer’s image of trees passing through the city and breaking in on people in hideous spots is coming true. Sustainable aspects are shown as another way of implementing greenery into the city design. as long as tight plots and mineralised distances to the streets don’t provide enough natural trees, similar implementations could be done. an idea can be ‘stolen’ by citizens and used in other parts of the city for a minimum budget. Unfortunately also an artwork can be stolen easily. While Urban Play event they were fenced in by concrete stones in a neat rectangle. That event in urban context is a sustainable comment for a lack of greenery and fault’s in urban design.

5.3 Solar cells and textile solar cells
Solar cell is a device that converts solar energy into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Solar cells are widely used – calculators, satellites, buildings can be electricity charged by solar arrays instalments. Efficiency of solar panels can varied because of the weather or technology used in construction (more efficient panels are more expensive). Typically, once a system is installed and in operation it requires no upkeep. Scientists put an effort to simplify and reduce expenses of the panels. Different gases are used inside the panels. There are companies specialised in modifying the panel’s front glass to bring higher energy efficiency. Photovoltaic systems can be integrated more seamlessly into an architectural design, such as vertical applications of glass windows. Solar cells as a façade of the building can charge the lifts inside. Expressing panels in front of the building can be a good idea to emphasize the sustainable approach of the place. institutions, private investors are interested in solar cells treated as a 24

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futuristic design. Panels can be also placed on the roof – the highest efficiency can be achieved and therefore the highest savings of the energy usage. at the 2008 CeBiT trade in Hanover i’ve noticed huge interests in ‘green’ products. There were companies exhibiting the computers and gadgets with low energy-usage. Solar cells would be probably installed directly in the fabric of people’s dress. Textile solar cells can be used for charging gradually increasing amount of electronic gadgets around us. implemented on bags or suitcases can be a good solution for travellers. Huge interests in solar area proofs modern approach for sustainable living. We are aware of increasing costs of energy, food and other resources. Standard of human life can be improved by solar textiles. Solar toothbrush, mobile phone, laptop battery or music player can be soon popular and recharging as easy as plugging into the electric socket on the wall.


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6. Sustainable materials
6.1 Polycarbonate
i’ve get in touch with that material while working on warehouse project. i was searching for possible construction for warehouse for store factory’s production. Most common solution for that purposes is prefabricated concrete hall made by prefabricated elements. as long as there was no demands for a wide span of beams and expenses should be lowered, lightweight metal or wooden construction can be proposed. As a fulfilment between the columns and roof beams a polycarbonate panels can be used. Polycarbonate is a very widely used polymer. it’s a transparent material produced on a factory-line with a fixed width. Prefabricated façade elements can be right away used on a building site. To provide the U-value for an external wall, closed air-gaps are provided. Six layers of air-gaps can keep the U-value on the 1.6 level. it’s high value, but the highest allowed by the low for warehouses or sports halls. in connection with the price of 5-6EURO per 1 kilogram it’s one of the cheapest ways of building an external division. as a commonly called ‘plastic’, polycarbonate doesn’t look like a sustainable material. What if we’ll point out, that this product of chemistry can be completely recycled? Every façade panel can be dismounted and replaced at any time. Specialised companies can recycle already damaged material by heating it up and changing the form. Panels can’t carry the weight so has to be separated from the main construction. Pure polycarbonate is almost completely transparent. By insertion of other substances, we can control translucency of the material or create colour panel. it gives architects a powerful tool for creating impressive buildings. Moreover, amount of glass panels, windows can be reduced – daylight which goes through the walls is enough to light up the building. Façade construction is simplified, because there is no need of windows. This material is produced in a fast way so erection of the building is shortened, less human power is necessary (one person is able to carry maximum 12m height panel). Savings created by mentioned reasons are important for sustainable development. Just as renewability has become a interesting point for many architects in specifying construction materials, the embodied energy of material is another factor of sustainability. Embodied energy13 is the total sum of energy associated with the life cycle of the material, from the extraction of raw material, through processing, manufacturing, transport, use and disposal of the finished product. Polycarbonate has an extaordinarily high embodied energy. The only product higher is aluminium.14

13 according to Chan, Y (2007) Sustainable environments, p.140-141 14 according to Bayer Material Science, [14-12-08] 29

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it’s worthy to mention, that ‘polycarbonate’ architecture getting more and more popular. as an aesthetic solution which creates a transparency of the building, polycarbonate will be probably wider used. Price of the material, simplicity and modern look can bring interesting architectural solutions in close future. as a façade were successfully used for a warehouses, sport halls or swimming pools. Bending abilities of the material can create an interesting roof shapes. As a sustainable may be considered modest efficiency of materials and budget used for a building like warehouse. The amount of material used is stunningly small in comparison to the traditional concrete warehouse. Short lifespan of the polycarbonate panels should be considered. Panels are can be easily damaged by the cars or trucks around warehouse. Panels are so thin and elastic, that hit by the sharp knife could break. anyone supported by the common kitchen tool may burst inside the building.

6.2 Gabions
Simple gabions are cages or boxes filled with soil or riprap. Gabion baskets have some advantages over loose riprap because of their modularity and ability to be stacked in various shapes. They also have advantages over more rigid structures because they can dissipate energy from flowing water and drain freely. Created by the nature riprap was shaped by the human by metal wire. Designers began to make spaces and forms from nature that did not try to look like plants or buildings, but that were hybrid abstractions of both. Known project of Dominus Winery, Herzog&deMeuron (fig. 21) used gabions filled with local stones to create a sheltering volume. The actual offices and production spaces sit in glass and concrete volumes inside this shell.

6.3 Grass
Grass is a typical intervention to bold the sustainable approach of architecture. its structure, colour and texture build up in our mind an impression of the nature. interesting example of structures created by using the grass i’ve met in Hanover, Germany (fig. 22). To focus on the green progress in modern development, organizers build different cone-hills. Totally covered with the grass was an interesting example of shaping with the land. Grass as a material is recently used for covering the roofs in the city centres. Where a lack of greenery is visible, terraces covered with the grass can supplement the nature. When used at the office buildings, are the spaces for retreatment for workers. Green colour calmed us down; reassure the vision after hours in front of the screen. It’s also an idea of advertising the office with modern architectural solutions.


Fig. 22

7. Focus on the future
In an ecological context, sustainability is defined as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity and productivity into the future. There is a lively debate about the relationship between natural and human capital – London, Berlin, Copenhagen wants to change into the paradise of sustainability. is it possible on our level of consumption? according to the Living Planet Report 2006 by WWF: almost all developed nations have an Ecological Footprint (the area of land needed to support a community and its waste) significantly larger than their geographic area - they are consuming more than they are producing. The sustainable development goal is to raise the global standard of living without increasing the use of resources beyond globally sustainable levels; that is, to not exceed “one planet” consumption. To progress for sustainable living in human scale we can follow simple steps15: • • • Walking or biking our schools, working places (urban context) Do not overheating our homes (architectural context) Plugging out the unused devices (product context)

8. Summary of working process
Research was based on my every-day experiences while living or travelling by different countries. Private photo-archive was extended with materials from teachers or web databases. i’ve also used professional research made while practical placement period. information’s about modern urban development in Sweden was based on interviews with citizens. Some pictures were collected while school trip to CeBiT trade in Hanover, Germany.

9. Conclusions
Sustainability was shown as a way of human and society well-being improvement. Well organized communities can implement the sustainable solution on the urban level. Considered and successive solutions - like biking paths on every street - are the way for progress in environmental friendly direction. When implemented gradually, experiments of closing city streets for cars, could become a success on environmental and human level. Moreover, the results can be measured in the pools - if the citizens feel the difference and if they can agree for it. Transport in the country, city or housing estate can become a barometer of the advance in sustainable development. Sustainability can be achieved by extraordinary design solutions. Covering the house around with soil and grass is one example. Creative usage of old-fashioned building techniques creates strongly sustainable effect. What is valuable for human - untouched surrounding brings us closer to the nature. 15 Created and spreaded by non-profit organization Do The Green Thing 

Environmental friendly can be also keeping end maintaining buildings. When materials used for construction are in high quality, well maintained can be keep for a long time. Reducing a waste in building materials and keeping the existing architecture is one of the step to sustainable development. Every single person should reduce his ecological footprint. Education in environmental friendly communities should aim to the global resource savings. appropriate cleaning dishes can be one of those. On the design level - design solutions should push us to take care of the natural resources. Under economy restrictions, value of sustainable architecture is created by simple and clever solutions. Examples of polish handmade houses can be one of thousands (mentioned in chapter 4.4). Smart re-usage of typical objects can improve human life in a great way - like the waste containers designed for enjoy the bath. Solar cells as a symbol of green energy started to appear closer to our body. Wearable solar powered devices are close future (chapter 5.3). it can improve our everyday life in a deep way - we’ll be able to gather solar energy available for free at any place of the globe. Smart materials and modern chemistry industry implement a new techniques in designing and constructing buildings. Polycarbonat can be successful used in a scale of plastic bag or transparent facade panel. Traditional and natural materials like stone or grass are still in use. The aim is to shape them to create valuable build environment which improve human life. Green roof terraces can be an re-treatment for those who suffer by the lack of greenery inside the city. Sustainable architectural solutions, design innovations are the path to human life improvement. The base of sustainability lies in our habits.

9.1 Criticism
Statement, which i wanted to prove is rather wide. Therefore i had to operate with general statements and/or opinions. Project shown on the front cover as a start for all of my considerations may look as a week example of sustainability. Size of the project and really small amount of people involved into creating and using the waste dust bins is visible. Moreover, it’s incomparable to the size of urban developments described - it’s influence into the society and country/city ecosystem quite weak. it’s something typical for inhabitants of single family houses to instal private swimming pools just behind their home. Prepared products available in every shopping centre can successful cover all of the demands for inhabitants. Popularity and usage of the Skipwaste project can be questionable. Urban Play - Moving Forest (chapter 5.2) project is rather a happening than finished product. It may pushes citizens for sustainable considerations. Therefore it’s influence is rather uncountable and may be weak in comparison to the effort spent for design and implement into urban structure. as an artwork reflect modern society statements/wishes or needs. But the size and influence into the city ecological footprint is almost invisible. Someone can even assume that sculpture is unsustainable even thought it talks about sustainability. 4

10. List of references
Books and magazines Ryker, L. (2005) Off The Grid: Modern homes + Alternative Energy, Lay1. ton: Gibbs m smith inc Stang, a. and Hawthorne, C. (2005) The Green House: New Directions in 2. Sustainable Architecture, New York: Princeton architectural Press 3. son Betsky, a. (2002) Landscrapers : building with the land, Thames & Hud-

Truelove, J. (2002) Hot dirt cool straw: Nature-friendly houses for 21st 4. century living, Hearst Books international Trulove, J. (2006), New sustainable homes: Designs for healthy living, 5. Collins Design BPS-publication 103 (1996), Renovating apartment buildings: roofs, Hors6. ens Polytechnic BPS-publication 115 (1998), Renovating apartments buildings: Installa7. tions, Horsens Polytechnic Horsens Polytechnic (2008), Housing in Copenhagen approx. 1850-1910, 8. Horsens Polytechnic Trammer, H. (2008), ‘Siła słabości’, Notes na 6 tygodni, vol. 44, august, 9. pp. 58-65 10. ‘Top 25 Most Liveable Cities‘, Monocle issue 15 (July 2008), vol. 02, 11. Chan, Y. (2007), Sustainable Environments, United States of america; Rockport Publishers inc. On-line sources [01/11-2008]


11. List of illustrations
Cover credits Oliver Bishop-Young, photo by Tomas valenzuela Fig. 1 photo by Marcin Osiecki » Amager Boulevard – one of the main streets in Copenhagen at 8am Fig. 2 map by CphX » Map of Nørrebrogade shows changes in traffic organization. Published for citizens in newspapers, on-line services and on bus stops. In simple graphic way shows new paths for cars and closed areas. Map refers to the on-line pool – if the street should be kept car-free. Fig. 3 photo by CphX Fig. 4 credits Svendborg architects, map by Marcin Osiecki Fig. 5 photo by Marcin Osiecki » Single family house along one of the main streets. Maintained in a proper way can be used for the next hundred years. Fig. 6 map by Marcin Osiecki Fig. 7 photo by Richard Davies » House in Wales by NL Architects. View from the lake-side shows glass façade facing the sea. House looks like grooving up from the soil. Fig. 9 photo by Jakob Findeisen » Interior of private apartment in Copenhagen. Bath tube is connected temporary to the sink. Machine pumps up the water and blows from the top. Metal bottom is sucking waste water and pumping it back to the sink. Fig. 10 photo by Marcin Osiecki » Handmade construction of the house attached to the plastic pontoon (foundation). House designed and constructed on the building side. Placed around the harbor in Christiania, Copenhagen. An example of – popularly called – an-architecture (architecture of anarchy). Fig. 11 photo by Marcin Osiecki » Building team. Fig. 12 credits Hubert Trammer, photo by Hubert Trammer » Felt used on the building façade in Poland and example of building in Switzerland. Fig. 13 credits Hubert Trammer, photo by Hubert Trammer » Garage made by re-used radiators painted in different colours.


Fig. 14 credits Oliver Bishop-Young, photo by Oliver Bishop-Young » Cover project and usage of swimming pool. Waste container changed into object-happening. Author still attempts to design new examples of skip waste re-usage. Fig. 15 credits Oliver Bishop-Young, photo by Oliver Bishop-Young Fig. 16 credits NL architects, photo by Scott Burnham Fig. 17 photo by Wikipedia » Solar cells adapted as a facade panel. Blue color is visible from different angles creating a visual effect. Fig. 18 photo by Marcin Osiecki » Solar cells adapted as cover for the bag. Connected to the battery can store the energy in day-time. Fig. 19 credits Prokulit, photo by Prokulit Fig. 20 credits Prokulit, photo by Prokulit » Polycarbonate from the inside of the warehouse – day-light can merge through the façade. Fig. 21 credits Flickr, photo by o d b » Herzog&deMeuron Dominus Winery. Constructed by using local stones. Fig. 22 photo by Marcin Osiecki » Cone structures made by grass and presented while CeBit trade in Hanover Germany.


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