Imperial War Museums Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness

June 6, 2019 by  
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Britain’s Imperial War Museum has recently gained a new high-performance archive facility in Cambridgeshire, England that boasts the world record for airtightness with results of 0.03 ach (air changes per hour). U.K. architectural practice Architype designed the new storage building — called the IWM Paper Store — to house some of the world’s most important collections of artworks, photographs, letters and diaries that chronicle the history of warfare in the past two centuries. Engineered to meet Passivhaus standards, the boxy, single-story collections facility is sheathed in ground-to-roof panels of perforated oxidized steel. Having completed a Passivhaus archive before, Architype was tapped to develop a second airtight facility for the Imperial War Museum (the new repository is currently awaiting certification). Drawing on its decades of experience designing beautiful, low-carbon buildings, the practice not only crafted the building to meet stringent environmental conditions for archival needs, but also thoughtfully designed the exterior to complement the existing historic buildings on site at IWM Duxford. Completed January 2019 for an approximate cost of £2.8 million, the rectangular building spans an area of 13,326 square feet to bring together over 14,000 linear meters of IWM’s collections into a central repository. The building can provide for up to 30 years’ expansion of IWM’s unique collections. To stabilize temperature and humidity levels, the architects turned to Passivhaus as a low-energy alternative to a highly mechanized and energy-intensive building system. Related: Architect designs and builds his dream Passive House in New York Working together with construction provider Fabrite, the architects conceived an uninterrupted facade of oxidized steel to complement the color and texture of historic brickwork onsite. “Though simple in form, the oxidized steel facade offers thoughtful detail, consisting of ground-to-roof panels that signify each year of archived collections from 1914 onward,” the architects explained. “Perforations in panels denote the 1 According to current records held by the International Passivhaus Association quantity of collected documentation, with noteworthy years around wartimes being heavily perforated in accordance with the volume collected.” + Architype Images via Richard Ash / IWM

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Imperial War Museums Passivhaus-targeted archive breaks world records for airtightness

A 1970 home gets a modern, light-filled revamp in Santiago

February 12, 2019 by  
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When a family with three children sought a modern refresh for their aging home in the commune of Las Condes in Santiago, they turned to local architecture firm Cristobal Vial Arquitectos to lead the redesign. The house — which belongs to a set of 25 one-story homes originally designed by architects Christian de Groote, Victor Gubbins and Hector Mery — already enjoys access to two gardens, one to the north and the other to the south. The green renovation emphasized these garden views by stripping away unnecessary additions, and in the process created a more open and contemporary living environment. The green  renovation and expansion of the home, dubbed the Golfo de Darien House, covers a total area of 213 square meters. The original structure — reinforced masonry, slab and reinforced concrete beams — was kept while many of the timeworn modifications added over the years were stripped away. Even the chimney was removed in favor of a floating concrete wall that does double duty as a space divider and shelf. Two “light yards” and a new skylight funnel greater light and sense of spaciousness indoors. To further update the 1970 home and improve the building’s energy efficiency , the architects installed a new heating system that uses a high-efficiency aerothermal heat pump and radiant slab system. Thermopanel crystals were added to all the openings. Related: Crusty old Swiss barn transformed into a modern solar-powered home “The consolidation of the three courtyards of the house, allows a fluid journey, in a same level,” the architect said. “For the intermediate courtyard a wooden deck is projected, which gives greater warmth and permanence to the space. The predominant materials used in this work are wood, stone, glass, steel and exposed concrete , always trying to put in value the original structure and adding a contemporary language that not only accounts for its interior, but more well of a whole that integrates the vegetation to the work.” + Cristobal Vial Arquitectos Images via Cristóbal Vial

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A 1970 home gets a modern, light-filled revamp in Santiago

This light-filled home and office in Portugal blurs indoors and out

February 5, 2019 by  
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On the outskirts of Ílhavo, Portugal, architect Maria Fradinho of the firm FRARI – architecture network recently designed and built her own industrial-inspired home and office using a modern and playful house-within-a-house concept. Sandwiched between two red-shingled homes, the contemporary abode stands in stark contrast to its more traditional neighbors. Dubbed the Arch House, the dwelling was named after the “theatricality” of its facade, a simple gabled shape with strong geometric lines and massive walls of glass. The Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory, one of the region’s most important industries, inspired the Arch House design. As a result, the home features a sleek, black, metal-clad exterior. In contrast, the interior is dominated by white surfaces and filled with natural light and strategic views that give the rooms a sense of expansiveness without sacrificing privacy. Full-height glazing also pulls the outdoors in, while indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with a covered patio that spills out to the backyard. A house-within-a-house concept is explored with the insertion of shipping container-inspired stacked volumes, each faced with windows, which overlook the indoor living room on the ground floor. “It was important for the architect to guarantee this process of transition from the public to the private, as well as ensuring adequate privacy in the interior, because of the maximum exposure desired,” according to the a project statement. “Inspired by ship containers , the volume set with which the interior is developed, creates a total height in some areas, recreating the great industrial environment of a main ship. This set of different roof heights widens the spaces and makes them more comprehensive, providing a visual relation between the various places in the house.” Related: A house within a house in Slovakia unfolds in layers Spanning an area of 300 square meters, the Arch House occupies a little less than a third of its long and narrow lot. The home is spread out across three floors and includes a basement. The open-plan ground floor houses the primary communal spaces, including the living room, kitchen and dining space, while the private areas are located above. + FRARI – architecture network Via ArchDaily Images by ITS – Ivo Tavares Studio via FRARI – architecture network

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Australia will not reach its carbon reduction targets by 2030, claims new study

February 5, 2019 by  
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An international group called the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a damaging report on Australia’s energy policies, placing doubts that the government will reach its carbon reduction targets by 2030. Australia previously agreed to cut carbon emissions by around 26 percent by the year 2030. Although the country will likely reach the carbon goals it set by 2020, the OECD claims they will not hit their target in 2030. “The country will fall short of its 2030 emissions target without a major effort to move to a low-carbon model,” the report explained. “Australia should consider pricing carbon emissions more effectively and doing more to integrate renewables into the electricity sector.” The OECD is an international organization comprised of 36 countries that aims to encourage sustainable economic growth. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the group’s climate study contends that Australia is unique in that its greenhouse gases have actually increased over the past 10 years. Related: Greenhouse gas emissions rose during 2018 after three year decline The group also contends that Australia is far from reaching any of its emissions goals by the target date of 2030. The report suggested that Australia should price emissions better and incorporate more renewable energy sources into its long-term plans. Although Australia has an uphill battle if it wants to meet its goals by 2030, it has made some progress over the past few years. This includes using more natural gas instead of coal and relying more on renewable energy sources for electricity. Unfortunately, these efforts have done little to curb the rise in carbon emissions . Despite lowering its reliance on coal, Australia still uses non-renewable energy sources for most of its electricity. The government also supports the consumption of certain fossil fuels, which contribute greatly to carbon emissions throughout the country. That said, use of renewable energy sources is on the rise, which is definitely a good sign. In response to the negative report, Australia’s Environment Minister, Melissa Price, claims that the country is on pace to meet its carbon goals by the year 2030. Even if the current policies are not enough to reduce carbon by 26 percent, the fact that they are scalable has Price convinced that the goal will eventually be met. Via Sydney Morning Herald Image via Shutterstock

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Australia will not reach its carbon reduction targets by 2030, claims new study

Minimalist tiny cabin is a secluded retreat in a Brazilian forest

January 30, 2019 by  
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São Paulo-based architect Silvia Acar Arquitetura has unveiled a minimalist tiny cabin tucked into a remote Brazilian forest. Elevated off the ground to reduce environmental impact, Chalet M is one-room cabin with a large glazed facade that connects its humble interior to it stunning surroundings. Located in the heavily forested region of São Lourenço da Serra, the incredible natural setting was the primary inspiration for the design. Wanting to create a refuge that would respectfully blend into the surroundings, the architect decided to create a minimal structure comprised of mainly wood, corrugated metal and glass. Related: One-room tiny cabin is a minimalist refuge deep in the Brazilian forest Although the setting is certainly idyllic, the remote location and rugged landscape provided quite a few challenges for construction. In this area, there is no room for large trucks to pass through. This meant that all building materials had to be lightweight and durable enough to be carried by hand. Accordingly, the entire construction process took place completely on site. Lightly elevated off the ground to reduce its impact on the environment , the tiny cabin is comprised of various thin sections of hardwood and panels of corrugated metal. The dark exterior is virtually camouflaged into the lush forestscape. At the heart of the refuge is the front facade, which is made up of sliding glass panels that open up to a wooden platform, the best place to take in the views of the mountains across the valley. On the interior, the walls are clad in a soothing plywood with thermoacoustic insulation. The simple furnishings, which include a small bed and custom cabinetry, were made out of the same plywood  for a cohesive, minimalist finish. + Silvia Acar Arquitetura Photography by André Scarpa via Silvia Acar Arquitetura

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Minimalist tiny cabin is a secluded retreat in a Brazilian forest

This modern home built to house a renowned art collection is a work of art in itself

January 29, 2019 by  
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Make no mistake — lovers of art reside here. Designed and built by Hufft, The Artery Residence is gorgeous, eco-friendly and just as art-focused on the inside as it is on the outside. The owners, prominent contemporary art collectors, wanted a blend of home and gallery that allows them to live comfortably while displaying their impressive art collection in a modern way. The designer clearly made the space as a unique backdrop for the art installation in mind, with blank, clean walls enabling the owners to rotate and move the art as they please. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the master bathroom allow for views of nature near the tub, warm wood accents, mosaic tiles and quartz counters. The home gets its name not only from the art-centric design , but from the three main “arteries” that connect the structure to the gallery. In this way, each part of the home is connected to the art. There are two guest suites, one that sits poolside, and another that extends dramatically over a limestone wall. Made of cedar, aluminum and limestone, both the exterior and interior invoke sleek, clean lines. In the kitchen, a custom-made modern chandelier with custom island and wooden bar top, with a more formal dining room are visible in a separate area. The Artery Residence is an excellent example of sustainable architecture. The stone floors act as an eco-friendly light absorber, along with big open windows that let that natural light in. Throughout the house are installed large overhangs that hang over the outer structure offering protection from the sun. In efforts to lessen the environmental footprint of the house, the architect incorporated geothermal, active solar and LED lighting into the design. The landscape, designed by 40North, was installed with sustainable garden growth in mind with natural vegetation and permeable surfaces. Related: Concrete home perched on Greek island cliffside designed with large cut outs to frame the amazing sea views Throughout 10,650 square feet of living space, thoughtful spaces cut into the floors and screened wooden stairs ensures the central visibility of the owner’s art collection. Also part of the home are matching office spaces and three separate bedrooms with their own en suites. The art doesn’t stop when you reach the outside, either. Striking sculptural pieces are respectfully spread throughout the grounds outside the home, along the terraces and near the pool deck. One of the large entrances that opens to the gallery allows for the loading of large art pieces and for visitors to enter without disturbing the occupants of the home . + Hufft Via Dwell Photography by Michael Robinson via Hufft

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This modern home built to house a renowned art collection is a work of art in itself

Architect crafts a new work studio from an old shipping container

September 27, 2018 by  
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When it came to expanding his practice after years of working from home, Canadian architect Randy Bens knew that he didn’t want to venture too far away. Instead, the architect and his team decided that his own backyard would be perfect for a new office space and set about transforming an industrial shipping container into a contemporary and cozy 350-square-foot work studio. Bens worked from home for over a decade for his New Westminster-based architecture firm, RB Architect . When the practice began to grow, it became obvious that the team needed more space. After looking into several building options and locations, the team decided to keep the practice close to home. More specifically, in the architect’s backyard. Related: Beautiful, light-filled home slots into a skinny lot in Vancouver The architect considered many ways to increase his office space, but finally decided on using a large weathered steel shipping container , previously used as a mining container. At 40 feet long, 11.5 feet wide and 9.5 feet high, the container offered the necessary space with the added benefit of the inherent durability that comes from its steel shell. Additionally, using a shipping container would allow the team to transport it to another location if they decide to relocate in the future. The first step was to trim the container from 40 feet to 28 feet in order to easily fit it into the backyard space, where it was lowered into place by crane. The steel facade of the structure, which cantilevers over the concrete foundation by 7 feet, is clad in yellow cedar planks, which were also used on the windows and doors. The cedar will weather over time, giving the steel container a rustic, cabin-in-the-woods aesthetic. The interior of the building was laid out to create a highly space-efficient office . There is an open studio space with a “floating” Douglas Fir desk that spans almost the entire length of the main wall, which is clad in birch plywood. There is also a kitchenette, washroom and network cabinet. The open layout allows for flexibility in creating small meeting spaces or areas for model making. The front end has a large glazed facade that floods the interior space with natural light. + Randy Bens Architect Via Archdaily Photography by Ema Peter via RB Architect

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Architect crafts a new work studio from an old shipping container

Judge stops bear hunt and returns Yellowstone grizzlies to the endangered list

September 27, 2018 by  
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The hunt for grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park is officially over. This week, a judge ordered that all grizzly bears living in or near the park to be put back on the list of endangered species. The ruling stops the attempts of wildlife officials to issue licenses for those want to hunt the bears, which have been protected from hunting for the past four decades. According to The Guardian , the population of grizzly bears has increased in the last 30 years from around 135 to more than 700 today. While the numbers are improving, grizzlies are only present in four locations in the Rocky Mountains. This has raised concerns about the recovery of grizzlies, as the populations are still isolated from each other. This is one reason why Judge Dana Christensen, who put in a lot of research on the case, decided to put the bears back on the endangered list. As Judge Christensen explained, true recovery means expanding grizzly populations to regions outside of the Rocky Mountains. Related: Montana judge to rule on first grizzly bear hunt in 40 years While environmental groups and activists praised the ruling, wildlife officials were disappointed by the turn of events. Officials in Wyoming recently put in motion plans for a bear hunt later this year. Up to 22 individuals were granted licenses to hunt grizzlies when the season opened. Luckily, citizens and conservationists launched a massive campaign — including the Shoot’em with a Camera, Not A Gun initiative  — to stop the sport hunting of these beautiful creatures. The fight to keep grizzly bears on the endangered list is sadly not over. Experts believe that state officials will attempt to repeal the ruling at a higher court. The pro-hunting organization Safari Club International is also expected to make a push toward making grizzly hunts legal once again. We can only hope that Judge Christensen’s ruling stands the test of time, allowing grizzlies to make a true recovery in the wild. Via The Guardian Image via Neal Herbert / Yellowstone National Park

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Judge stops bear hunt and returns Yellowstone grizzlies to the endangered list

The Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy

September 6, 2018 by  
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When Cheryl and Ken Serdar saw one of the homes belonging to Micropolis®, a collection of sustainable and contemporary house plans designed by architect Arielle Condoret Schechter , they knew they wanted a custom home based on the original 950-square-foot “Happy Family” plan. Taking into account the couple’s needs for extra space, Schechter designed a 2,222-square-foot dwelling that also offered all of the sustainable and modern design features defined in her Micropolis® line. Located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, the custom net-zero home is the most energy-efficient residence that the architect has designed to date. The clients were very clear with their expectations of their new three-bedroom house and asked for an abode that was “very modern, extremely green [and] almost industrial.” The modified Micropolis® meets all three targets with its predominate use of concrete for durability and sustainability measures as well as through passive solar principles. The home is oriented toward the south for maximum solar gain, while all the aluminum-framed windows and doors were sourced from Awilux and certified for Passive House construction. Ample glazing opens the home up to natural light, natural ventilation and a connection to the outdoors. To minimize unwanted solar gain, Schechter designed deep roof overhangs built with cypress soffit to visually soften the prefab concrete sandwich panels with built-in insulation. The home is also outfitted with space-saving solutions such as sliding interior barn doors, built-in closets, cabinets and shelving. An industrial feel is achieved with exposed ductwork, concrete elements, minimalist cabinetry and a large factory fan. A wall of glazed folding doors opens the home up to the outdoors to create a greater illusion of spaciousness. Related: The net-zero Lightbox 23 boasts sustainable features and stunning views The net-zero energy house is powered by a small 6 kW solar array . An energy recovery ventilator paired with seals on all air gaps makes for an airtight envelope. Under-slab insulation was installed beneath the polished concrete floors, and the home has achieved a HERS rating of -13. + Arielle Condoret Schechter Images via Kim Weiss / Arielle Condoret Schechter

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The Micropolis custom net-zero home generates all its own energy

Architect Stefan Hitthaler breathes new life into a 1970s UFO-inspired chalet

August 14, 2018 by  
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A UFO-inspired house may be one of the last things you’d expect to find in a quaint Italian village, but this Space Age mountain chalet fits surprisingly well in its forested surroundings. Charmed by the unusual home, which had been designed by Innsbruck-based architect Josef Lackner in 1973, Bruneck-based architect Stefan Hitthaler has given the five-sided building a modern refresh and expansion for better usability and comfort. The remodeled chalet is used as a holiday retreat that can sleep multiple guests. When architect Stefan Hitthaler was commissioned to renovate the UFO House, the dwelling had fallen into disrepair and was in sore need of an amenities update. Hitthaler decided to replace all the siding and introduce a fresh material palette mainly comprising untreated larch , fir and gray-waxed concrete. The home, set on six low concrete pillars, was also expanded to include a more spacious outdoor deck and a retracting spaceship-inspired ladder entrance. The relatively compact mountain chalet offers just over 61 square meters of space across a main floor and smaller basement level, which is why the architect opted for an open plan . Full-height glazing that frames landscape views and opens up to a balcony also brings plenty of natural light into the main room, which is anchored by a fireplace and two large beds on either side. Behind the fireplace is a small kitchen unit and two extra, smaller bedrooms. A bathroom has been added to the lower level, which is finished in waxy gray concrete. Related: Off-grid UFO home is completely powered by wind, water and sun “The project provides better usability and optimized living comfort thanks to an increase in thermal insulation and the installation of floor heating with heat pump and ventilation,” said Stefan Hitthaler of the energy-efficient upgrades to the UFO House. “All these solutions generate a greater energy savings. These interventions haven’t compromised the idea and the structural quality of the outer shell and the interior.” + Stefan Hitthaler Images via Harald Wisthaler

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