Marc Thorpe designs live/work buildings built from earth bricks

February 20, 2020 by  
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New York-based architecture studio Marc Thorpe Design has unveiled renderings for the Dakar Houses, a series of live/work spaces for the artisans of furniture brand Moroso, located on the outskirts of the Senegalese capital of Dakar. Designed with compressed earth bricks, a common building material in western Senegal, the multipurpose units take inspiration from the local architectural vernacular. The economical earth bricks also have the advantage of thermal mass to provide comfortable indoor temperatures without artificial heating or cooling.  Created to house Moroso’s Dakar-based artisans, the Dakar Houses will consist of two apartments that flank a central workshop for manufacturing the furniture brand’s decade-old line of handcrafted and brightly colored outdoor furnishings. In echoing the furniture line’s celebration of local craftsmanship, the Dakar Houses also pay homage to building materials and techniques common to the West African region.  Related: Ancient green building technique helps ease West Africa housing crisis “The intention was to create a work-based community allowing a village to develop around a central economic constituent,” Marc Thorpe Design explained. “The units are designed to house the workers as well as various parts of the manufacturing process of M’Afrique’s furniture , such as the handicraft work of welding and weaving. The apartments would be designed based on the required space for each individual family.” Each unit comprises three volumes — two apartments and a central workspace — that are staggered to create favorable solar shading conditions. Steeply pitched roofs top the minimalist units, which are left unadorned to emphasize the earth bricks. Made from local soil, the bricks are cured over several weeks. Next, they are soaked in water each morning, then baked in the sun beneath a tarp until they are ready for construction. During the day, the earthen walls absorb heat to provide a cool indoor environment; at night, that heat is slowly dissipated and warms the air.  + Marc Thorpe Design Images via Marc Thorpe Design

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Marc Thorpe designs live/work buildings built from earth bricks

Home on a sloped ravine uses natural materials to blend into the landscape

February 20, 2020 by  
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Built by Chicago-based firm Wheeler Kearns Architects , the Ravine House is a beautiful home that sits tucked into a natural forest setting just outside of Highland Park, Illinois. Working directly with the nature-loving homeowners, the architects strategically focused on blending the minimalist home, which was built with natural materials , into the idyllic surroundings while reducing its impact as much as possible. The Ravine House comes in at more than 4,500 square feet across a single-story, rectangular volume. Sitting adjacent to a deep ravine, the home’s layout was designed to include the native vegetation that covers the area.  In fact, one corner of the volume is “broken” and set apart in order to create an entrance courtyard, where the vegetation is first incorporated into the living space. The courtyard’s local stones and birch trees pay homage to the homeowners’ love of nature. Related: The low-impact Bridge House hovers over a stream in Los Angeles In addition to incorporating the native plants and trees into the design, the home uses a variety of natural materials to blend into its natural forest backdrop. The exterior cladding is comprised of dark metal siding and a vertical rain screen made out of panels of American Black Locust, which was chosen for its durability. On the interior, walls of American Walnut and continuous white oak floors run throughout the living space. Large expanses of glass wrap around the Ravine House, further blending the exterior with the interior. A minimalist, yet cozy, interior design deftly puts the focus on the surrounding views while providing a comfortable living area for the family. In addition to the various uses of wood for a more sustainable design, protecting the landscape was also an essential element to the Ravine House project. During the construction process, the homeowners began to restore the adjacent ravine, which was being damaged by invasive species. They planted no-mow meadows to surround the home as well as multiple beds of vegetable gardens. + Wheeler Kearns Architects Photography by Tom Rossiter via Wheeler Kearns Architects

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Home on a sloped ravine uses natural materials to blend into the landscape

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