Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home

February 28, 2017 by  
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OFIS Architects have converted an old hay barn in Slovenia into a gorgeous living space. The barn was originally used to house cattle on the first floor and store hay on the upper level, but had been left empty for years. To convert the space into a comfortable loft space without sacrificing the building’s local vernacular, the architects were determined to use as much as the existing structure as possible. The Slovenian countryside is full of decrepit barns that serve as symbols of the country’s rural lifestyle. To pay respects to the local vernacular, the architects made impressive strides to use what they could of the barn’s original materials . Related: Architects transform 18th century barn with seamless contemporary extension Surprisingly, the renovation team was able to maintain almost all of the external wooden cladding and concrete roof slates. A few strategic renovations were made to include windows and an opening for the front porch to let in natural light to the home, and a ramp that previously led animals into the barn was also fixed to serve the same purpose for the new, human inhabitant. https://youtu.be/cBDAeyO7WC0 Inside, the home has an open floor plan with minimal furnishings and exposed wooden beams. The interior floors, walls and furniture are covered in locally-sourced spruce panels, resulting in a homey cabin feel. The open living and dining area make up the main volume, and a raised bedroom was installed in the back. The kitchen, sauna, fireplace and bathroom are all strategically placed out of sight behind a wall of sliding vertical planks to further open the living space. + OFIS Architects Via Ambienti TV Photography by Tomaž Gregori?

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Architects transform an old hay barn into a stunning minimalist home

Famous swimming pigs in Bahamas found dead after consuming ‘wrong food’

February 28, 2017 by  
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A pod of swimming pigs has delighted tourists in the Bahamas for decades, but several of them were recently found dead. Wayde Nixon, who owns some of the pigs, said they appear to have eaten food they aren’t accustomed to. The tragedy has drawn criticism of irresponsible tourists who often feed the animals human food, including alcohol like rum or beer. About 20 swimming pigs once frolicked in the Exuma Cays, according to the Bahamas’ tourism website . Swimming alongside the animals and photographing them may be harmless, but Nixon said people have also tried to ride on top of the pigs or give them alcohol. He told The Nassau Guardian, “We had them pigs there almost 30 years, and never has this happened before, but now we are going to have to regulate it. Right now it’s blowing out of proportion with people, anybody bringing food there, anybody doing what they [want to] do.” Related: Yoda the Piglet Escapes Slaughterhouse, Finds Love and Safety He blamed their deaths on someone giving them bad food, but Bahamas Humane Society president Kim Aranha said it could have been an accident, and the animals could have consumed something poisonous. She told The Independent, “It could be malicious but I don’t really see why anyone would go out of their way to hurt those lovely animals. I know there are a lot of silly sailors that go and feed them alcohol to try and get them drunk but that’s not to mistake them with the tour operators based out of Nassau who have treated them with excellent care.” Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources V. Alfred Gray said the government will work to prevent tourists from feeding the pigs, such as through a boundary line so visitors could still see the pigs but wouldn’t be able to feed them. He said his department is working with the Ministry of Tourism to implement a safeguard for the remaining 15 or so pigs. Via The Nassau Guardian and The Independent Images via Pixabay and cdorobek on Flickr

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Famous swimming pigs in Bahamas found dead after consuming ‘wrong food’

SpaceX is sending two private citizens to the moon next year

February 28, 2017 by  
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Since humans first walked on the moon in 1969, many people have gazed up at the night sky and longed to do the same. Leave it to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk to make those dreams reality. SpaceX announced yesterday they’ll be sending two tourists, who have reportedly paid the company quite a bit of money up front, to the moon. The groundbreaking mission could happen as soon as 2018. SpaceX didn’t say who the two private citizens are, although, according to Musk, they aren’t Hollywood celebrities. The two unnamed travelers will start with fitness and health tests, and commence training this year. According to SpaceX, “…these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.” Related: Watch Elon Musk’s emotional rollercoaster during successful SpaceX Falcon 9 landing They’ll be aboard a Crew Dragon, or Dragon Version 2, which has not yet ventured to space. Dragon capsules have made their way to the International Space Station (ISS), but the crew version of the vessel, with life-support equipment, won’t blast off until the end of this year, in an unmanned demonstration mission to the ISS. A manned mission could come early in 2018, before the tourists journey to the moon from the exact launch pad Apollo missions utilized near Cape Canaveral. According to the BBC, the moon trip could be at least six to seven days long. SpaceX said in a statement, “This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them.” This historic trip will also serve as a stepping stone for the company on their target of sending humans to Mars . NASA released a statement on SpaceX’s announcement, saying they commend their “industry partners for reaching higher.” Musk and SpaceX said the moon mission wouldn’t be possible without the agency. Via SpaceX and the BBC Images via SpaceX on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Mid-century modernism and sustainable design meet in two desert homes

February 28, 2017 by  
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Two new residences in Palm Springs by o2 Architecture  combine the best of mid-century modernism  and 21st-century sustainable design. The team brought to life an unbuilt project by Arizona modernist architect Al Beadle designed in 1970s, while combining mid-century modernism and sustainable design in the o2 House, located just a few steps away. The two structures, each in its own way, fit into the rocky desert landscape of Arizona . Originally named Palisades Dos, the Beadle House is built primarily out of steel, concrete and glass. Originally designed by modernist architect Al Beadle, the house stays true to the late architect’s meticulous drawings and schematics. Lance O’Donnell of o2 Architecture worked with Mike Yankovich of local design-build firm Better Built to bring Beadle’s work to the modernist community of Palm Springs. The house features a large, gravity-defying second floor that cantilevers over the desert landscape. Related: Midcentury modern ranch is renovated into a spacious energy-efficient home The second building, o2 House, is a 3,664-square-foot sprawling residence that celebrates mid-century modernism and marries it with contemporary sustainable design practices. Natural ventilation and a solar energy system complement the interior design. Both houses were part of the architect’s Miele Chino Canyon Project. + o2 Architecture + Better Built Via Architizer

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Mid-century modernism and sustainable design meet in two desert homes

Prince Charles is waging war on Britain’s grey squirrels – with Nutella

February 28, 2017 by  
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Prince Charles reportedly backs a plan to sterilize Britain’s grey-squirrel population, and it involves Nutella . The monarch-in-waiting is said to have met with members of the U.K. Squirrel Accord , a coalition he helped establish three years ago, to discuss ways to reduce the animal’s numbers without culling. Originally from North America, the Eastern grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis , has been the bane of the region’s native red squirrels since the late 19th century, when the Victorians first imported the animals to add color to their estates. There was one problem, however. Not only do grey squirrels compete for the same resources, but they also carry a pox virus that is harmless to them but fatal to their ruddier rivals. According to a recent census , the number of red squirrels have plummeted from roughly 3.5 million in the 1950s to about 130,000 today. Meanwhile, grey squirrels, which have gone on to thrive, are some 2.5 million strong. So where does the hazelnut spread come in? Per members of the Accord, which include the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Scottish and Welsh governments, oral contraceptives slipped into bait could dramatically yet humanely reduce the number of grey squirrels by up to 90 percent. And like we humans, squirrels have a weakness for Nutella. Related: Squirrels were introduced to U.S. Parks to “maintain people’s health and sanity” Field testing by the Animal and Plant Health Agency has led its scientists to devise the perfect trap, one that allows grey squirrels to squeeze through but leaves red squirrels, mice, and other smaller mammals out in the cold. No risk of accidental dosing here. “It is the most exciting prospect I have seen for controlling greys,” Charles Kinnoull, chairman of the U.K. Squirrel Accord, told the Times . “I don’t harbor a great extermination instinct but I am interested in protecting our broadleaf trees and there being red squirrels around for my children to see.” The Prince of Wales himself roots for the red squirrel, even at one point suggesting installing the critter as a national mascot. “I put nuts in the lobby and leave the door open and the red squirrels come up the steps into the house,” he told the Telegraph in 2011. “Very often you get four or five running around inside the house, chasing each other to get at the nuts. My great ambition is to have one in the house, I hate to tell you. Sitting on the breakfast table and on my shoulder!” Via the Guardian Photos by likeaduck and Brian Cantoni

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Prince Charles is waging war on Britain’s grey squirrels – with Nutella

6 impressive structures built around living trees

February 28, 2017 by  
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Treehouses hold a special magic. They hint at escape, and an opportunity to transcend the busyness of life; connect with nature. An example of man-made structures that harmonize with the environment , treehouses have inspired architects and designers around the world to build homes and offices that do the same. We’ve rounded up six examples of architecture influenced by treehouse design: four homes , one office, and one tearoom. All are designed around living trees , allowing inhabitants to breathe easy surrounded by greenery. Uncle’s House by 3 Atelier The living area of this light-filled home in Vietnam centers around a flourishing tree that is large enough for children to climb. The architects at 3 Atelier built this home for their uncle and his family, using materials reminiscent of the parents’ childhood homes. Not only does Uncle’s House inspire kids to engage with nature, they can even grow vegetables in the dirt around its base. Related: Snøhetta’s luxury cabin with Aurora Borealis views opens at Treehotel Inside Out House by Takeshi Hosaka One tree wouldn’t suffice for the Inside Out House by Takeshi Hosaka in Tokyo, Japan . From the outside, the cubic home is simple and modern. Inside, multiple trees and plants bring the outdoors inside. Sliding glass doors offer flexibility, and natural light permeates the home through skylights , creating a serene sanctuary in which humans and cats coexist. Symbiosis office by Cong Sinh Architects New developments are increasingly crowding out green spaces in the southern part of Hue, Vietnam. So Cong Sinh Architects designed Symbiosis, a peaceful office rooted in the environment in the midst of the bustling city . Expansive windows on both floors of the office overlook a green oasis full of vines and a tree. The shade from the greenery even helps regulate the office temperature. Tree House by A. Masow Design Studio A. Masow Design Studio unveiled astounding plans for the ultimate treehouse: an entire tree wrapped in a glass facade in Kazakhstan . A spiral staircase would allow the owner to move between four levels, circumnavigating the tree as they moved from floor to floor. The glass allows natural light to stream in and provides an unobstructed view of the surrounding woods. House in the Trees by Anonymous Architects This cantilevered Echo Park home takes the treehouse concept to new heights. House in the Trees by Anonymous Architects rests on a hillside overlooking Los Angeles , and was carefully constructed so as not to harm neighboring mature cypress trees, one of which extends through a bedroom in the home. Fire-treated Western red cedar siding, reclaimed chestnut floors, and walnut cabinetry add to the woodsy , natural feel of the cozy California dwelling. Bird’s Nest Atami by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP A 300-year-old camphor tree in Japan now includes a tiny teahouse nestled among its branches. Bird’s Nest Atami, designed by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP with the help of Takashi Kobayashi , is part of the country’s largest treehouse. Inspired by how crows utilize coat hangers in nests , Nakamura designed the freestanding teahouse to rest among the 22-meter-tall tree on light structural elements without harming the tree. The earthy interior also includes wood furnishings, inviting tea drinkers to relax in nature . Images via Quang Dam , © Koji Fujii by Nacasa & Partners Inc., Hiroyuki Oki , A. Masow Design Studio , Anonymous Architects , and Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP , by Koji Fujii/Nacasa and Partners Inc.

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6 impressive structures built around living trees

New material made from fiber-reinforced hydrogels is 5 times tougher than steel

February 28, 2017 by  
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Researchers at Hokkaido University in Japan have created a flexible, eco-friendly material that’s five-times stronger than carbon steel. The “fiber-reinforced soft composite” made by combining polyampholyte hydrogels with woven glass fiber fabric creates a bendable material that’s extremely durable. The material’s uses are manifold, but perhaps most exciting is for bearing the load of artificial ligaments and tendons. Hydrogels have been used for a variety of applications in the past , from wound dressings to soft robots, but up until recently the hydrophilic polymer chains have been too soft for much else due to the fact that they’re largely made up of water. But when woven together with glass fiber fabric, they create a material that’s not only stronger than steel, but according to researcher Dr. Jian Ping Gong, also environmentally friendly. Related: Harvard team creates extremely stretchy gel to replace damaged cartilage in joints “The fiber-reinforced hydrogels, with a 40 percent water level, are environmentally friendly,” says Dr. Jianinnovation. “The material has multiple potential applications because of its reliability, durability and flexibility. For example, in addition to fashion and manufacturing uses, it could be used as artificial ligaments and tendons, which are subject to strong load-bearing tensions.” While the material is made largely from water and glass, it gains its strength from the dynamic ionic bonds between the fiber and hydrogels. The team found that a combination of polyampholyte gels, a type of hydrogel they developed earlier, and glass fiber fabric with a single fiber measuring around 10?m in diameter produced a strong, tensile material. Testing revealed that the material is 25-times tougher than glass fabric, 100-times stronger than hydrogels alone, and five-times stronger than carbon steel. Via Hokkaido University Images via Hokkaido University

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Philip Johnson’s Wiley House hits the market for $12 million

February 28, 2017 by  
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Philip Johnson’s Wiley House in New Canaan, Connecticut may not be as well-known as the architect’s iconic Glass House , but it’s every bit an architectural gem – and now, it’s on the market. Built in the 1950s, the home clearly exhibits Johnson’s signature style – it consists of a rectangular glass structure cantilevering over an elongated stone base. If you’re in the market for a new home and have a cool $12 million to blow, strike while the iron’s hot. Philip Johnson designed the Wiley Home in the early 1950s as a family home for a real estate developer. Although the double-height glass pavilion with 15-foot-high ceilings is similar the architect’s other home designs, many consider this structure to be one of his “most liveable” designs. Related: Prefab Glass House lets you bring home the spirit of Philip Johnson’s masterpiece The home is 3,000 square feet of glass, steel and stone built on six acres of greenery surrounded by a “fence” of Hickory trees . The glass cube , which cantilevers over the stone base, houses the living room and the galley kitchen. Six bedrooms, a sitting room, studio, and another small kitchen are located on the lower level. Outside, a stunning vintage swimming pool is at the heart of the property. Business executive, Frank Gallipoli bought the property for $1 million in 1994 and began to renovate the home, changing out the glass panels for double-paned windows and installing floor heating. He hired Roger Ferris + Partners to head the renovation process, carefully staying true to Johnson’s original design throughout. Although the home is an updated version of the original, there are some new additions to the property, including the renovated 19th century barn that was converted to house Gallipoli’s personal art collection. Ferris also built added a new pool house and garage to the complex, making the property well worth its current $12 million listing price. Via Dwell Photos via Sotheby’s International Realty

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How Americans Are Embracing the Power of Their Homes

February 28, 2017 by  
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Just a few years ago, living off the grid conjured up images of tiny cabins in the middle of nowhere. Today, the dream of average American homeowners powering their homes with alternative energies is coming true. Solar panels on your neighbor’s…

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How Americans Are Embracing the Power of Their Homes

L’Oreal, Chanel and Nespresso pioneer ‘carbon insetting’

February 28, 2017 by  
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The trees planted under this targeted approach do more than offset emissions. They make supply chains more resilient.

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