Conceptual rammed earth home harmonizes with an Indian forest

July 17, 2020 by  
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Mumbai-based architecture firm  Morphlab  has unveiled designs for “Shift-ing Earth,” a luxury residence designed to harmonize with nature. Created as part of a proposed township masterplan on densely forested land in India, the design concept marries contemporary architecture with natural materials and passive solar principles. The highly geometric house would primarily use rammed earth walls with large openings for a strong indoor/outdoor relationship. Morphlab’s renderings depict a house that mimics a rocky outcropping with asymmetrical  rammed earth  forms and a two-story outdoor waterfall as a focal feature next to the main entrance. Water, a major theme throughout the design, flows from the entrance waterfall to an L-shaped pool that wraps around the side of the building and culminates in a rectangular pool in the rear outdoor patio. The design would also encourage vegetation to grow in and around the home, from climbing wall vines to garden spaces, to help blur the boundary between indoors and out. According to the architects, integrating vegetation and water features is part of an energy-efficient strategy that takes advantage of natural cooling to minimize dependence on mechanical cooling. The house’s orientation follows  passive principles  as well; the bedrooms face the southwest in alignment with the direction of cross breezes. Mitigation against unwanted solar gain also informed the massing. Several openings, including a large rounded skylight above the living area that takes in canopy views, frame select views of the forest.  Related: Hawk Nest House combines rammed earth and local stone To  minimize site impact,  Morphlab proposes reusing the earth excavated during the construction process for the formwork of the rammed earth walls. To protect the areas of the home most exposed to the elements, the architects have proposed wrapping those sections — including the front door and upper bedroom volume — with corten steel panels that complement the rammed earth construction while adding extra durability.  + Morphlab Images via Morphlab

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Conceptual rammed earth home harmonizes with an Indian forest

Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun

July 3, 2020 by  
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Ahmedabad-based  Openideas Architecture  has completed Hive, an adaptable and sustainable family home that takes inspiration from nature in more ways than one. Located in Vesu, an up-and-coming area in Surat, Gujarat, the luxury home was commissioned by a client who sought to manufacture a flawless home inspired by his work with diamond industry machinery. Informed by extensive solar and site studies, the 600-square-meter residence’s name comes from its honeycomb-inspired facade embedded with solar sensor-based modules that open and close in response to lighting conditions.  When the client approached Openideas Architecture, he brought with him a nearly 90-point brief that covered everything from the structural materials and landscaping to sustainability needs and a year-long solar study. In response, the architects conducted an in-depth analysis of external temperature, humidity, solar radiation, cloud cover and wind pattern conditions that informed the creation of the V-shaped, metal-framed home, which opens up to greenery on multiple levels. In addition to a sunken court and stepped garden, the home features a walkable  green roof  with varying slopes and pockets of greenery dispersed throughout. The most eye-catching feature of the home is the  honeycomb-inspired  facade with a unique opening mechanism engineered to optimize sunlight exposure and thermal comfort levels inside the home. “Analyzed as per the structure, function and mechanism, its design is based on structural strength, transformability and biomimicry ,” noted the architects, who also took inspiration for the modules from the doors of airport buses. As the modules open and close, the sun creates changing patterns of light and shadow indoors.  Related: Honeycomb shading keeps Büro Ole Scheeren’s skyscrapers naturally cool in Singapore In contrast to the metal-clad exterior, the  open-plan  interior includes a mix of wood and stone that create a sense of warmth. As a continuation of the expressive facade, the indoor furnishings and structures feature strong geometric shapes and clean lines.  + Openideas Architecture Images by FABIEN CHARUAU

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Green-roofed Hive home opens and closes with the sun

Bioclimatic design creates a highly efficient and healthy home in Spain

November 20, 2019 by  
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Spain’s Rías Baixas area is a picturesque part of the country. Now, in this idyllic region sits a highly energy-efficient home designed by local firm ARKKE . The architects incorporated several bioclimatic features into the design, taking advantage of the local climate and landscape to help reduce the building’s energy use. The Small Bioclimatic House is a compact, two-bedroom home that sits elevated on a steep hill side overlooking the Ría de Arousa, the largest estuary in Galicia. The area is known for its picturesque landscape dotted with quaint fishing villages, so the architects wanted to create an energy-efficient home that harmonizes with the surroundings and complements the existing vernacular. Related: Brazilian timber home uses bioclimatic principles to reduce its environmental footprint The home is just over 900 square feet and is surrounded by natural landscaping. According to the architects, the layout and size of the house was inspired by the limited building space as well as the stunning views. The firm explained, “The essential premise of the commission was to design a small, highly efficient and healthy house capable of making the most of a very narrow plot but with delicious views of the Arosa estuary.” The architects created a simple, one-story design with two bedrooms, a living room, an open kitchen and a bathroom. The front wall is comprised of floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to a front deck; this helps the family to enjoy optimal natural light as well as unobstructed views year-round. To create a strong thermal envelope for the home, the architects chose to build with CLT . The porch extends laterally, forming eaves that shade the interiors from direct solar radiation, again reducing the home’s energy use. Additionally, the entire envelope has been insulated with a unique exterior insulation system (SATE) to withstand both the region’s frigid winters and the searing summer months. + ARKKE Via ArchDaily Images via ARKKE

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Bioclimatic design creates a highly efficient and healthy home in Spain

This beautiful charred timber lake house extension in Munich is chemical-free

May 3, 2019 by  
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German architect studio, Buero Wagner , designed a modern, chemical-free home using a twist on the traditional Japanese practice of charring wood. The Black House is located near Munich’s Lake Ammersee and features a rural German architecture with a sleek industrial design. It is an addition to an existing family home and uses the site’s natural topography to create a stacked look on the exterior with a fluid, open concept inside. The charred timber façade is a popular trend in Western architecture and uses a sustainable Japanese practice that creates weather-proof wood through a fire-treatment process. The black house has three levels, with the bedroom and open bathroom in the basement level, kitchen and dining in the middle and a living room at the top, all connected by short steps to create modular but overlapping spaces. Related: Black charred-timber home embraces forest views in Zürich “Spaces and uses form one fluid entity, creating a variety of spatial situations,” said Buero Wagner. Perhaps the most dramatic design element to the house is the pivoting windows on the northwest corner of the living room space. Virtually the entire northern and western walls pivot on an off-center single axis and open up onto the terrace — creating one seamless and open space for hosting. This space also builds a connection from the interior to a small forest outside. The concrete flooring blends seamlessly with the concrete terrace, creating an entirely new, hybrid and open-air space, without a clear line between inside and outside. The house most notably uses a charred wood façade that has a resurgence of popularity in Western architecture. The wood is fire treated and then coated with a natural oil. The result is a jet-black, charcoal aesthetic that is naturally weatherproof. Charred wood is carbonized, which means it is resistant to water , fire, bugs, sun and rot. Despite the charred wood ’s resistant properties, it can be a difficult and tedious process to fire-treat and install. The interior walls and floor utilize an untreated oiled oak combined with slabs of exposed, sandblasted concrete. Together, these materials give the interior an industrial and modern look. A panel heating system is incorporated into the concrete walls and floors, and provides energy efficient  thermal energy storage. + Buero Wagner Via Dezeen Images via Buero Wagner

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This beautiful charred timber lake house extension in Munich is chemical-free

Get cozy this season with these 7 hot vegan drinks for winter

January 8, 2019 by  
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Thoughts of snowy winter days bring to mind a toasty fire, slippers, sweaters, blankets and warm drinks. It makes sense, because they all equate to the perfect combination of coziness. While traditional tea or coffee is a lovely choice, it’s fun to explore new flavors. For those that are vegan by choice or by circumstance, traditional drinks can be limiting. We’ve conjured up a varied blend of hot drink options to fit your vegan lifestyle. Note that most of these options can also be adapted for the over-21 crowd. Cider Apple cider quickly comes to mind in any discussion of hot drinks, and it is undisputed as a sweet, delicious option. But cider encompasses a host of other possibilities as well. Because fruits and herbs are naturally vegan, there are endless combinations to suit your preferences. How about some apple-berry cider? Cranberry makes a colorful, flavorful and delightful cider that you can drink as-is or use as a base for any number of warm drinks. Take advantage of mint, basil and lavender for tasty spins on the classic ciders, too. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Coffee Another age-old vegan option is coffee . However, contemporary methods have turned this once black-only option into dairy-filled whipped, stirred and frothy concoctions. The advantage of modern inventions is that they’ve also come up with an assortment of creamy options that don’t come from an animal source. Replace the cow’s milk and heavy cream with rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk or the sturdy oat milk. From there, you can embellish with a dash of almond or peppermint extract and top with vegan whipped cream and chocolate shavings. There’s no reason to miss out on the seasonal peppermint mocha or cinnamon-spice latte you see everywhere when you can recreate it at home. Hot cocoa Cocoa is a childhood favorite with its sweet flavor and creamy texture. It became a classic for a reason — it’s delicious! But even the classics are due for an upgrade at some point, so take cues from the coffee suggestions above with the addition of extracts, vegan chocolate , milks and whipped cream. You can even mix it up with white chocolate or dark chocolate, too. In the family of cocoa is a vegan Mexican favorite called champurrado, made from masa and either water or milk. You can enhance the flavor with anise, cinnamon or nutmeg for a yummy twist. Gingerbread coconut milk hot cocoa is another delectable option to consider. Simply combine a can of coconut milk with cocoa powder and season with maple syrup, ginger, allspice and vanilla. Top with vegan whipped cream if desired. Tea Tea might be the oldest hot beverage on the planet. For thousands of years, native communities around the world have infused leaves into water to create a calming brew. While English breakfast and peppermint varieties are divine on their own, jazz them up a bit for an extra special treat. London Fog tea  latte is one such treat. To make it vegan, substitute your favorite milk product. Steep a cup of earl grey tea with some fresh lavender. Meanwhile, steam some alternative milk . Combine the two and use a milk frother if you desire. Top with sweetener and a dash of vanilla. Chai tea latte is another notable culinary combination. Make the tea and steam the milk separately. Then, froth the milk and combine with the tea. Add honey or another sweetener to taste and top with cinnamon or nutmeg. Related: 10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas Mulled wine Mulled wine is an alcoholic beverage made from wine infused with fruit. Cinnamon, cloves and orange are the typical options, but star anise, clementines and other citrus or sweeteners can be added too. To make mulled wine, simmer a bottle of inexpensive red wine on the stove with the added ingredients. You can alternately let the mulled wine simmer in a slow cooker. Eggnog Did you know you can make eggnog from scratch? Yep, you can. The great part of that news is that it means you can make it from your favorite vegan milk , too. Try coconut or cashew milk. The following recipe is from the Tasty Yummies website : 2 cups homemade cashew milk or other non-dairy milk of your choice ½ cup full fat coconut milk ? cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for at least 30 minutes (optional) 4-6 Medjool dates 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg pinch of ground cinnamon pinch of ground cloves pinch of sea salt Add all of the ingredients to your high-speed blender and process until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately as-is or add spiced rum, bourbon, brandy or whiskey for a spirited version. Add a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg on top. Wassail If you’ve never had wassail, you’re in for a treat. It’s kind of a combination of apple and cranberry cider with an extra kick of spices. It’s fabulous warmed, and you can even throw in a shot of rum or vodka for an extra warming affect. Winter is the perfect time to cozy up to a warm cup of goodness. Enjoy! Images via Shutterstock

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Get cozy this season with these 7 hot vegan drinks for winter

Escape city life in a lux off-grid cabin that can pop up almost anywhere

July 15, 2016 by  
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? Designed and produced by a team of architecture students-turned-entrepreneurs, the Ark Shelter was created to bring back people “back to basics” and into nature. Clad in durable timber for a cozy feel, each cabin is prefabricated off-site in a factory and then craned into place on raised, mobile foundations. Its modular architecture can be easily customized and expanded from its basic 9-square-meter workspace module to a fully livable space with a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and a living room. Related: Stunning Moon Dragon is a fairytale-like tiny house that goes off-grid ? The self-sufficient structure is equipped with wind turbines and rainwater collection systems, while natural light streams through folding glazed doors to minimize dependence on artificial light and embrace panoramic views of the outdoors. There’s no word on price on the website; interested parties will have to contact the design team directly. All Ark Shelters are delivered fully furnished, from custom timber furnishings to the bed linens. + Ark Shelter Via Architizer Images via Ark Shelter

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Escape city life in a lux off-grid cabin that can pop up almost anywhere

This tiny house in Spain has one room for a person and one for a tree

December 29, 2015 by  
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The owners commissioned the architects to design a small guest house  with two rooms-one inside the house and the other for the tree in the garden. Called ‘The House of a Man and a Tree,’ the building is meant to be open to the sky and accentuate the natural elements. One wall of the house is glazed and screened by white-painted metal tubes that extend and form the fence which surrounds the old tree. Related: Stealth Barn is a Striking, Shadowy Guest House in the Cambridgeshire Fens “Metallic tubes painted white create the visible transparency of both rooms,” explained the architects. “The first set points the room of the tree to the sky. The second folds to discover from the guest room the garden,” they added. The interior comprises a space that functions as a living room and bedroom , a small toilet with shelving , and a study. It is connected to the garden via a glass door. + Taller Basico de Arquitectura Via Dezeen

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This tiny house in Spain has one room for a person and one for a tree

Incredible Transforming LEGO Apartment Packs 4 Rooms Into 1

January 24, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. Christian Schallerton has retrofitted a tiny apartment up with a vast view of Barcelona into an incredible transforming home that packs a lot of living space into a tiny footprint. Inspired by boat design, Japanese homes, and Zen minimalism, the 258 square-foot apartment 90 steps above the street is a multi-functional space that can transform from a kitchen to a living room, bedroom, or dining room with some clever built-in furniture. Read the rest of Incredible Transforming LEGO Apartment Packs 4 Rooms Into 1 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apartment design , Barcelona apartment , built in kitchen , built-in furniture , eco apartment , Green apartment , green home interior design , LEGO Apartment , micro apartment , micro apartment design , Zen apartment

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Incredible Transforming LEGO Apartment Packs 4 Rooms Into 1

Russian Artist Transforms a Recycled PC into a Living Room Fit For a Miniature Visitor

February 14, 2013 by  
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An anonymous Russian artist recently transformed the shell of an old computer into a brilliant miniature replica of a living room – complete with an oriental rug, a lamp, and a comfy couch! Other accents include a minute copy of the New York Times and a little toy gumball machine set against the computer’s circuit boards, which resemble a sheet of patterned wallpaper. The micro room is a fantastically creative way of transforming something unwanted into an imaginative and playful work of art. Via Modding.Ru .

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Russian Artist Transforms a Recycled PC into a Living Room Fit For a Miniature Visitor

Open Ended Play Lets Kids’ Imaginations Set Sail!

November 7, 2009 by  
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Editor’s note: The following piece is guest post by Dalit Holzman from Natural Pod, one of our favorite eco-friendly toy companies .  Dalit is part of the Natural Pod team ( www.naturalpod.com ) and raises her two daughters as open-endedly as possible…with the help of some boxes. We’ve all heard it. In fact we’ve all said it: “the best toy in the house is the cardboard box!” As parents we are constantly reminded that the active imaginations of children really don’t need much stimulation to get going…and going, and going, and going! Just the other day my very own living room was transformed from, well, a living room into a series of caves and burrows, an enclave for ambushing mini- pirates! Kids constantly mimic and replay the world around them, and though I am no pirate (lol), my daughters do seem to have many of my mannerisms and modes of communication down to a science (arrr me hearties!) They listen to learn to repeat.

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Open Ended Play Lets Kids’ Imaginations Set Sail!

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