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

Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architect Ryuji Kajino from Malubishi Architects has just unveiled the Tiny Atelier — a one-room work studio crafted with the remnants of an 80-year-old timber barn that previously stood on the same site. The minimalist work space, which was created for a designer who makes accessories from dried flowers, was built with timber, old beams and roof tiles repurposed from the existing barn. Located in Kurashiki, Japan, the work space was built for a designer who lives on a hilltop lot that overlooks the Seto Inland Sea in the distance. A covered porch leads from her home to the new studio, which is surrounded by greenery. In fact, the artist grows the flowers for her accessories in the onsite garden. Related: The Cornelia tiny house is a peaceful writer’s studio built with reclaimed wood The architect wanted to retain as many of the materials from the old barn as possible. The structure includes a new pitched roof topped with tiles from the existing barn. Inside, exposed log beams on the timber-lined ceiling pay homage to the former building. Vertical wooden boards  clad the petite studio, except for the front door, which has a diagonal pattern and custom-made chestnut handle. Large windows provide an abundance of natural light as well as beautiful views of the valley below. The room’s biggest window sits in a timber frame constructed with both old and new wooden pillars, again marking the transition from past to present. The office design embraces minimalism with sparse furniture and a wraparound white shelf built high up on the wall to provide space for drying flowers. According to the architect, re-using the barn’s old materials enabled him to create the atelier space as a nod to the local history. “Utilizing the materials that can be used by existing barns, we inherited the history that this site had been walking on,” explained Kajino, “but also aimed at a new architecture mixed old and new materials as a future architectural building.” + Ryuji Kajino Via Dezeen Images via Ryuji Kajino

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Ryuji Kajino converts an 80-year-old barn into a gorgeous atelier

Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

February 20, 2018 by  
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Architect Suraksha Acharya from Midori Architects has proposed a pair of ultra-green translucent towers for the Hong Kong skyline. The futuristic Aero Hive skyscrapers are clad in an organic facade interspersed with greenery that leads up to the towers’ expansive open-air rooftop gardens . The concept is based on creating an iconic symbol of sustainable design for the city – a unique highrise designed to adapt to the challenges of the local climate and reduce CO2 emissions in the area. Acharya’s design, which recently won the Skyhive Skyscraper Challenge , is meant to provide the bustling Hong Kong skyline with an icon of sustainability. Although aesthetically apt for Hong Kong’s profile of soaring skyscrapers, the Aero Hive is also strategically designed to withstand the local climate. The shape and size of the two towers, as well as the materials, were all chosen to adapt to the city’s subtropical weather and extreme winds. Related: Futuristic floating skyscraper ‘heals’ the effects of climate change According to the architect, the design is meant to change ideas when it comes to green skyscrapers, “Aero Hive aims to challenge the common belief that contemporary tall buildings cannot be ventilated naturally due to their ultra-heights and offers pause from typical hermetically sealed glass-boxes, serving as a model of sustainability” The curvaceous form of the towers is designed to be self-shading, meaning that the angles of the buildings are precisely aligned to allow them to mutually shade each other throughout different times of the day. Additionally, the porous cladding allows optimal air circulation throughout the building. The double glazed windows that make up the cladding are also optimized to bring in diffuses natural light to the interior while restricting direct solar radiation. Topping the twisty towers are two flared rooftops, which will be open to the public as city gardens. The greenery is two-fold – helping preserve the city’s public green space, but also address the “urban heat island” effect common in Hong Kong’s tropical climate. The lush rooftop gardens will help create a natural habitat for local birds, as well as filter pollutants and reduce CO2. + Midori Architects + Midori Architects on Facebook + Midori Architects on Instagram + Midori Architects on Twitter + Midori Architects on G+ Images courtesy Midori Architects

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Translucent ‘hugging’ towers could help clean Hong Kong’s air pollution

Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

February 20, 2018 by  
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If you feed your doggo and puppers foods made by the J.M. Smucker company (and the list is long), you are definitely going to want to read this. The company has recalled several brands of food because they are contaminated with a drug used to euthanize pets. In case you are thinking to yourself, “haven’t I heard this before?” – yes, you have. A different company had the exact same issue last year. The FDA states that a small amount of pentobarbital was found in foods like Gravy Train, Kibbles ‘N Bits and Skippy (see the whole list below). According to the FDA, “Pentobarbital is a barbiturate drug that is most commonly used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, or for euthanasia.” If you’ve fed your dog one of these brands, the FDA says it is unlikely that the amount of the drug found in the food will make your dog sick, but watch out for “drowsiness, dizziness, excitement, loss of balance, nausea, nystagmus (eyes moving back and forth in a jerky manner) and inability to stand.” If your dog shows any of these symptoms after ingesting any of the contaminated foods, it’s best to get them to the vet to be safe. Related: The devastating reason Mumbai dogs are turning blue “We take this very seriously and are extremely disappointed that pentobarbital was introduced to our supply chain,” said Barry Dunaway, President of Pet Food and Pet Snacks. In case you were wondering how the heck a drug like pentobarbital is making its way into dog food, it is likely from contaminated cattle meat – all the more reason to take a good, hard look at what you are feeding your pets . The list of withdrawn products the firm provided to the FDA include: Gravy Train with T-Bone Flavor Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052541 Gravy Train with Beef Strips, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 791052542 Gravy Train with Lamb & Rice Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910052543 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034418 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Gravy Train with Chicken Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051645 Gravy Train with Beef Chunks, 22-ounce can, UPC 7910051647 Gravy Train Chunks in Gravy with Beef Chunks, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910034417 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010377, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Bistro Hearty Cuts with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Homestyle Meatballs & Pasta Dinner with Real Beef in Tomato Sauce, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010382, 7910048367, 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits 12-Can Variety Pack – Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, Chef’s Choice American Grill Burger Dinner with Real Bacon & Cheese Bits in Gravy, Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 12 pack of 13.2-ounce cans, UPC 7910010380, 7910010377, 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Beef & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010375 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Bistro Tender Cuts with Real Turkey, Bacon & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010378 Kibbles ‘N Bits Chef’s Choice Homestyle Tender Slices with Real Beef, Chicken & Vegetables in Gravy, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910010380 Ol’ Roy Strips Turkey Bacon, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 8113117570 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy Chunky Stew, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 79100502469 Skippy Premium Chunks in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050250 Skippy Premium Strips in Gravy with Beef, 13.2-ounce can, UPC 7910050245 Via Gizmodo Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 and 2 )

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Multiple dog foods recalled due to contamination with euthanasia drug

This incredible floating hotel can take you on the voyage of a lifetime in Japan

February 2, 2018 by  
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Guntû is a gorgeous floating hotel that takes passengers on a whirlwind tour of Japan ‘s Seto inland sea. The vessel was designed by Japanese architect Yasushi Horibe , and it includes all the amenities of a luxury cruise ship while upping the ante with a distinctly Japanese experience. Guntû has a total of 19 two-person guest rooms, each outfitted with private terraces that offer unobstructed views of the surrounding sea and shores. You can kick back and relax on the rooftop deck , while common areas like the Grand Suite create a vibrant environment for socialization. Wood dominates the design of the hotel –from the interior of the common areas and private rooms, to the cocktail bars and balcony tubs. Related: This floating hotel and spa in Sweden will fill you with wanderlust Guests can book stays up to three nights, but it isn’t cheap – rates start at 400,000 yen ($3,668 US) per night for two guests. This arrangement includes all meals and on-board services. The floating hotel starts its journey in Onomichi City and allows guests to explore coastal Japan while selecting from a variety of on-shore activities. + Guntû + Yasushi Horibe Architect & Associates Via Apartment Therapy

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This incredible floating hotel can take you on the voyage of a lifetime in Japan

‘Worlds Largest Picture Frame’ opens in Dubai

January 4, 2018 by  
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The city of Dubai is home to some of the most innovative architecture in the world, but its latest skyscraper is certainly one of the most “picturesque” we’ve ever seen. The  Dubai Frame , otherwise known as the “World’s Largest Picture Frame”, is a 150-meter-high rectangular structure whose unique shape frames stunning views of the city’s growing skyline, including the iconic Burj Khalifa . It is the latest design to take its place among the city’s prestigious architectural portfolio, but the project has been mired in controversy from the start, with one architect saying the city stole his design. Opening today Dubaï Frame #dubaiframe #uae #gold #lights #bridge #architecture #monument #monumentoftheday #arts #tower #towerbridge #theplacetobe #picoftheday #dubaiskyscrapers #new #dubaifrenchie #surreal #surrealpicture #surrealism #exclusiveshot #quotidien #incredible #incrediblearchitecture #impressive #dubai #uae #instaday #2018 #thebest A post shared by @ linvraisemblableordinaire on Jan 2, 2018 at 5:10am PST The Dubai Frame is located in the city’s beloved Zabeel Park, and at a staggering height of nearly 500-feet (150 meters), provides visitors with stellar panoramic views of the skyline from its 300-foot (93-meter)-long viewing bridge. The unique  skyscraper is expected to attract nearly 2 million tourists annually, and with an entry fee of 50 dirhams (approx. $14.00), will definitely bring some income to the city. Related: Dubai’s craziest tower yet is the world’s largest picture frame Dubai Frame | The New thing of Dubai @dubailifestyle #dubailifestyle #dubai #dubaiframe #dubailife Photo @khaled_a_hassan_1 A post shared by Dubai (@dubailifestyle) on Dec 10, 2017 at 3:46am PST Inside the golden framed-building, visitors are led to the glass-floored walkway where they can enjoy views of the old city of Deira to the north and the towering buildings lined along the famed Sheikh Zayed Road to the south. On the ground floor museum, visitors will have the chance to take in an innovative augmented reality display that follows Dubai’s transformation from a remote fishing village to a bustling metropolis. However, the story of the city will most likely gloss over the controversial beginnings of the Dubai Frame design itself. In 2008, the Dubai Municipality and ThyssenKrupp Elevators hosted an international design competition searching for the city’s next amazing skyscraper. Architect Fernando Donis’s  design was chosen as the winner of the competition. However, when it came time to collaborate on the construction of the project, the architect and the city failed to agree on contractual terms. Nonetheless, the city went on with the project, breaking ground in 2014, which resulted in Donis filing an Intellectual Property claim against the city for copyright infringement. + Fernando Donis Via Archdaily Images via Donis Architecture and The Dubai Frame

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‘Worlds Largest Picture Frame’ opens in Dubai

Architects squeeze an ethereal art gallery into a narrow Shanghai alleyway

January 3, 2018 by  
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Chinese studio Wutopia Lab converted a dim, dark alleyway between two buildings into a beautiful, light-filled gallery in Shanghai. Located in a terraced courtyard sheltered from the city’s chaotic streets, One Person’s Gallery is a compact space topped with a pitched roof and furnished with repurposed items found during the site cleanup. The original site of the gallery was an old storage area that had been filled with junk over the years. As the cleanup process began, YU Ting from Wutopia Lab was inspired by the raw quality of the space. He decided to use the existing arch as a motif for the gallery space, creating an open, almost chapel-like atmosphere . Related: Renzo Piano embeds modern art gallery with ‘winged’ roof into French vineyard As the space was being cleaned out, the architect was also inspired to put the “junk” to good use as well. The project turned into a kind of archaeological dig, with almost everything in decent condition put aside for use in the gallery. Old furniture that had been abandoned for years was given new life as furnishings or decorations in the library and courtyard. Some of the old doors were repurposed , while others were used in the ceiling. The finished gallery is a beautiful, open space that offers a retreat from the chaotic hustle and bustle of city life. According to the architect, the gallery will be open to artists who want to showcase any works focusing on urban design and architecture. + Wutopia Lab Images via Wutopia Lab

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Architects squeeze an ethereal art gallery into a narrow Shanghai alleyway

Striking green-roofed house cantilevers over a cliff in Japan

November 30, 2017 by  
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This striking concrete house extends from a cliff above a river in Japan , providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The two-floor green-roofed structure, designed by architecture firm Planet Creations , establishes a delicate balance between rugged and warm materials, with raw wood contrasting against stark concrete walls. The villa is located in Tenkawa village, and it cantilevers over the Tenokawa River, 56 feet below. It’s built into flat bedrock, and the layout is split along the length of the structure. A bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom occupy one side, while the master bedroom, living room and deck area occupy the other. Related: Organic Japanese Shell Residence Wraps Around a Centenarian Fir Tree The steep slope dictated the design of the house and constrained the flatland space to only 64 square feet – enough to accommodate two cars and not much else. In order to ensure structural stability, the architect decided to “submerge the building near the rock so as to melt into this surrounding environment.” + Planet Creations Via Ignant Photos by Masato Sekiya

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Striking green-roofed house cantilevers over a cliff in Japan

This pop-up prefab cocoon can immerse you in the heart of nature

November 1, 2017 by  
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Immersing yourself in nature without leaving the comfort of the hotel room may sound too good to be true, but that’s exactly what French architect and civil engineer Christophe Benichou sets out to achieve in LUMISHELL . Created in the shape of a cocoon, this prefabricated curved dwelling blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor space with LUMICENEs, a patented reversible window concept. The LUMISHELL is designed for placement in a variety of exotic environments—even in Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat that experiences below freezing temperatures. Clad in a protective aluminum skin, the 40-square-meter LUMISHELL comprises all the needs for a comfortable, long-term stay including a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. The bedroom and living room are located at opposite ends of the curved dwelling and wrapped by LUMICENE , a curved glass sliding door that opens up to transform the room into an outdoor space. Curtains attached to the LUMICENE rails allow for privacy and protection from solar gain, while the shape of the structure is optimized for natural cross ventilation. Related: Cover installs its first prefab dwelling “for the masses” in L.A. “Both rooms provide unique panoramic views and can be occasionally transformed into outdoor spaces to enhance the feeling of being transplanted in the middle of vast scapes,” wrote the architect. “Various mirrors also create reflections that diffuse the landscape in the heart of the dwelling.” The self-supporting and prefabricated LUMISHELL can be assembled on site in as little as four days—not including hookups—and does not require foundations. The LUMISHELL is currently available for pre-orders and is expected to ship out for first installations in 2018. + LUMISHELL

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This pop-up prefab cocoon can immerse you in the heart of nature

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