Award-winning sustainable retreat offers a stylish defense against fire

September 20, 2019 by  
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Australian architectural firm Steendijk’s Bellbird Retreat is proof that designing for fire safety doesn’t have to mean compromising aesthetics. Located in pristine bushland about two hours southwest from Brisbane, the award-winning weekend escape features a striking, weathered steel roof and stellar landscape views as well as a reduced environmental footprint thanks to a rainwater harvesting system and optimized passive design elements. Located on a 141-hectare bush site in Killarney, the Bellbird Retreat is in an area at high risk of fire. To protect the house from devastating bushfires, the architects installed thick brick walls and a fire-resistant roof that uses weathered steel pleats, rather than combustible timber rafters, for the structural support of a single-span structure with unsupported cantilevered eaves. Computer modeling informed the shape and size of the roof, which fans out across the house with deep overhangs to provide protection from solar heat gain. Related: A shipping container is recycled into a chic nature retreat in Brazil “On approach, Bellbird Retreat appears fortress-like with the pleated steel roof crowning three pivoting brick blades that tie the dwelling inextricably to the site while sheltering the building from wind, sun and fire,” the architects explained. “The building sits boldly, carved into the landscape. It is positioned to maximize the mountain saddle for recreational use, enticing the occupant through sliding corner doors that peel back.” Elevated on a cantilevered concrete floor slab, the north-facing Bellbird Retreat spans 721 square feet and includes two bedrooms on the west side with a shared bathroom in between and an open-plan living room, dining area and kitchen on the east end. Fronted with floor-to-ceiling glass, the light-filled interior is dressed in a minimalist palette of locally grown indigenous hoop pine used for the joinery, doors, walls and ceilings. More impressive is the endless views of the landscape that residents can enjoy from dawn until nightfall. + Steendijk Via ArchDaily Images via Steendijk

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Award-winning sustainable retreat offers a stylish defense against fire

A shipping container is recycled into a chic nature retreat in Brazil

September 2, 2019 by  
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When a client approached Bruno Zaitter with a request for a minimalist and sustainable getaway in Brazil’s Balsa Nova, the Brazilian architect and professor decided that cargotecture would be the perfect fit for the brief. Proving that less can be more, the architect upcycled a secondhand shipping container into a relatively compact 538-square-foot abode with a bedroom, bathroom, living and dining area, kitchen and an outdoor terrace. Most importantly, the structure, named the Purunã Refuge, immerses the client in nature with its large glazed walls that embrace panoramic views in all directions. Protected on the west side by a lush native forest, the Purunã Refuge is set at the foot of a geographical fault called Escarpa Denoviana and enjoys privacy, immersion in nature and views of the city skyline beyond. The project, completed in 2016, draws on Zaitter’s experience with recycling shipping containers into contemporary structures. As with its predecessors, the Purunã Refuge is elevated off the ground for reduced site impact. Related: A modern farmstay suite minimizes site impact in Brazil Raised 3 meters off the ground and accessible by outdoor stairs, the dwelling features a 12-meter-long container — comprising the sleeping area, a portion of the kitchen, the entrance and the bathroom with a soaking tub — that has been extended by two glass-enclosed volumes on either side. The larger of the two boxes houses the living and dining area as well as office space; the smaller box is a bump out of the kitchen that extends into the forest. Stretching northwest to southeast, the Purunã Refuge is accessed from the north side, which leads up to an outdoor terrace . “The project’s concept was to group the essential universes of human life — eating, sleeping, sanitizing, working and socializing — in a space of about 50 square meters with the greatest possible contact with the surrounding natural landscape,” Zaitter explained. “The biggest challenge was convincing people who still believe that large space equals comfortable space, and that small space is uncomfortable space. The refuge proved that less is more.” + Bruno Zaitter Photography by Sergio Mendonça Jr. via Bruno Zaitter

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A shipping container is recycled into a chic nature retreat in Brazil

thredUP partnerships open the door to secondhand shopping at major retailers

September 2, 2019 by  
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Whether it is a handbag from the 1970s or a leather motorcycle jacket circa 1999, what’s old is new again, and online retailer thredUP sees the circular economy movement as a thriving opportunity. The consignment retailer and secondhand shop recently kicked off RAAS, or Resale-As-A-Service, a project to attract traditional department stores to get on board with more sustainable fashion . “The closet of the future … is going to look very different than the closet of today,” said James Reinhart, CEO and co-founder of thredUP. “If you think back 10 years ago when we started, you had none of these direct-to-consumer brands. There was no such thing as rental. There were no subscription companies. In just these 10 years, we’ve had a radical shift in how people shop and buy apparel . And I think that shift is going to continue.” Related: G7 summit — Fashion companies make a pact to protect the planet The retailer collects around 100,000 pieces of secondhand items daily and says resale is growing 21 times as fast as the larger retail market; it could be a $51 billion market by 2023. Shoppers propelling the growing circular economy are Millennials and Gen Zers — the 18- to 37-year-old population — who are purchasing about 2.5 times more than any other age group. Big box stores, like JCPenney and Macy’s, have seen their sales yo-yo in recent years and have signed on with thredUP. In doing so, the retailers have three options: store pop-up, online collaboration or a loyalty program. Some experts believe department stores will lean toward pop-ups, because they tend to attract more shoppers. As reported by Forbes , pop-ups offered by thredUP will be between 500 and 1,000 square feet and “feature new items on a weekly basis, offering brands that aren’t already in a typical Macy’s or JCPenney. There will be 100 pop-ups by Labor Day.” According to Reinhart, the loyalty program has been the top option, where shoppers can purchase items from thredUP’s retail partners and also receive a “clean out kit.” Buyers use this kit to send in pre-loved clothing items to thredUP — thredUP retains the markup on resold items, consumers get credits and bonuses with the retailer and the retailer sees improved customer retention. It’s a win-win-win. thredUP has reportedly received more than $300 million in total funding for the project. It’s possible that thredUP’s RAAS initiative may help grow the circular economy and give struggling department stores a brighter future. + thredUP Via TreeHugger , Forbes and FirstResearch Image via Burst

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thredUP partnerships open the door to secondhand shopping at major retailers

Designer stylishly revamps a geodesic dome

September 2, 2019 by  
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After more than 15 years styling vacation homes in Massachusetts’ Berkshires, Jess Cooney and her design team have become specialists in combining clean-line elegance with a space where kids, house guests and dogs can play, relax and have fun. But taking on a geodesic dome in the tiny Berkshires town of Becket was a new challenge for Jess Cooney Interiors — a challenge that the team overcame with much success. “This was the first we worked on,” Cooney told Inhabitat. “We liked the challenge of making the space really efficient while working with all the angles in the space.” Finding flat areas in the geodesic dome home for vanities and appliances proved especially tricky. Related: Escape the everyday in this Geodesic Dome House in Palm Springs The 2,567-square-foot lakefront cabin was built in the 1980s and is owned by a Boston couple. A central spiral staircase connects the main level, basement and loft. Buckminster Fuller developed the geodesic dome in 1954, seeking to enclose maximum space with minimal internal supports. During the 1960s and ‘70s, dome popularity grew. Cooney faced the challenge of making what looked like a futuristic design in midcentury appear elegant and modern today. When the Boston couple bought the geodesic dome , it was crying out for a makeover. Dark wood paneling, dated finishes and old heating and electrical systems were dragging it down. Plus, old wall-to-wall carpeting wasn’t friendly to the sandy feet of guests. The team got to work stripping finishes and carpeting. Walnut flooring is a key improvement. “The lower level has wood plank flooring that are tiles in place of wood flooring that work really well for people coming in and out of the lake,” Cooney said. The design team added radiant heat and new treads on the staircase. Cooney also saw the importance of balancing open space for family time with more private areas. The designer said the most interesting aspects of the project were “the windows and the different materials we brought in with bamboo , oak and the high level sheetrock we put in place of the old wood paneling on the ceiling.” Instead of dark paneling, the dome’s interior is now a stunning white, which makes the most of the vaulted ceiling and the large, striking triangular windows. Daylight fills the main living area, and views of the surrounding trees are a blink away. Cooney chose calming colors throughout most of the geodesic dome , such as a silvery velvet sofa and blue armchairs. Guests can relax around a fireplace complete with a floating oak mantel. “The kitchen was the most challenging for us,” Cooney said. “But by creating a pantry in the back, we were able to make the whole space work well.” The family can choose between eating in the larger main dining space, or a more intimate eating area with a circular table. Local, third-generation cabinet maker Erik Schutz custom-built both the dining table and the kitchen table. Upstairs is the light-filled master bedroom, illuminated by a hexagonal skylight and side windows. A slate bed frame by Old Bones Co enhances the clean, modern look. The guest bedroom incorporates concrete nightstands by Fourhands with a woven chair from Orient Express. The bathroom is the biggest splash of color, with gorgeous teal tiles made all the more eye-catching because most of the design is so neutral. The basement offers additional living space, with comfy chairs and ottomans. Cooney also fit in an office and mudroom. Now, the owners are adding an outdoor deck and new landscaping to truly make the most of the home, inside and out. + Jess Cooney Interiors Via Dezeen Photography by Lisa Vollmer Photography via Jess Cooney Interiors

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Designer stylishly revamps a geodesic dome

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