Israeli eco-innovation is spreading to all reaches of the planet, often sowing great green seeds where it touches down. The Tel Aviv-based architecture studio Talmon Biran sent us images of their entry into a recent design competition for the Nikola-Lenivets artist community in Russia’s Kaluga region.
Conceived in tandem with Anna Leshchinsky, the proposal calls for a condensed campus-style layout comprised of “floating” wooden structures that sit lightly above ground. Residential and communal spaces are separated and the whole facility is powered by rooftop solar panels.
The Nikola-Lenivets artist community is designed to provide a space that inspires community, creativity and learning. To help catalyze such wholesome aims, the design team chose simple structures that look like pitched boathouses made mostly out of wood.
These are arranged to optimize solar gain in winter and to create plenty of space in between. Hostel-like residential areas are separated from the communal areas which include such facilities as a cafe, gallery and workshop space.
Sustainability is fundamental to the proposal. In addition to honoring the regional vernacular architecture, the team did specific research to determine how the buildings should be oriented to maximize efficiency. An angle of 155 degrees was decided upon and implemented in the design accordingly. The south facade will maximize solar gain while the northern side will provide thermal massing.
Corrugated metal sheets on the southern end of each building maximizes heat absorption, as do floor panels that slowly release warmth throughout the day, while cutouts in the roof promote both daylighting and natural ventilation.
All of these energy-saving measures conserve what is generated by an array of rooftop solar panels that power the entire campus. Water is also heated by the sun, and is conserved via a rainwater harvesting system and a grey water recycling program.
Not content with half-hearted eco-overtures, Biran and Leshchinsky have also proposed to install a living machine that relies on a manmade wetland system to treat the community’s waste water nature’s way. This is an ambitious design that is nonetheless deeply rooted in smart ecological solutions, and we’d love to see it come to life.