A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest

August 15, 2018 by  
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Barcelona- and Mexico City-based firm  Cadaval Sola-Morales has just unveiled Casa de la Roca, a beautiful, dark timber home topped with a green roof  and located in a remote forest in Mexico. The single-story structure features a jet-black facade crafted from felled trees and finished with a living roof to help camouflage the home into the peaceful, secluded forestscape. When designing Casa de la Roca, the architects were focused on one objective: to create a home that would easily blend into the landscape for years to come. Acting accordingly, the architects chose materials based on durability. The structure, which sits on a low-maintenance concrete foundation, is clad in reclaimed timber from local felled or dead trees. Related: Living trees grow through the ceiling of Cadaval & Sola-Morales’ Tepoztlan Lounge in Mexico The exterior walls were then coated in black paint to add longevity to the structure. “We used paint (and not dye), to add another layer of material protection; dye tends to lose its qualities over the years,” the architects explained. “It is black, responding to the desire to blend in with the landscape, seeking a certain anonymity in front of the vegetation and exuberant views.” The dark exterior essentially allows the home to hide deep within the forest , but that wasn’t enough for the architects. Once the dwelling was constructed, the team finished the entire roof with vegetation, creating an even stronger connection between the man-made and natural. According to the architects, the home’s layout of three long hallways that converge into the main living space was also inspired by the landscape. The team wanted the house to have three private lookouts at each end to provide distinct views of the forest. The three “arms” of the home come together at a central point, which is also where people can come together and socialize . The interior space is both elegant and welcoming. A minimal amount of furniture is spread out over the open-plan living room, so the main focus is always on the incredible nature that surrounds the home. Extra large floor-to-ceiling windows and doors allow optimal natural light into the home, while also creating a seamless connection to the forest. + Cadaval Sola-Morales Via Wallpaper Photography by Sandra Pereznieto

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A striking timber home with a green roof disappears into a Mexican forest

Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

August 1, 2018 by  
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Retrofitting an old house into a Passive House is a challenging feat to say the least, but when done right, it can be amazing. When Bo and Itzy decided to turn their old Victorian home in Brooklyn into a passive home, they took on the ambitious project with help from NYC-based firm  ZH Architects . The result is  powerhouse of energy-efficiency, redesigned and revamped for healthy living. Although the number of new passive home projects continues to grow, retrofitting old structures to fit Passive House requirements is still a massive undertaking rife with complications. In an interview with the architects, Bo explained that one of the biggest hurdles of their home renovation was making the space airtight. Related: The United States’ first Passive Plus House generates nearly all the energy it needs “Most passive houses have been either newly built or brownstone/townhouse conversions,” Bo said. “It’s a lot easier to get this right when dealing with a rectangular box or only two exposed walls with a flat roof. With an old Victorian home like ours, there are nooks and crannies everywhere. The hardest part is really getting the house airtight, so you need to work both from the inside and the out taking great care that you don’t have any air infiltration or gaps. We used an Intello vapor barrier on the inside of the attic and a Zip System on the exterior.” The home currently has an air tightness of about 0.29 ACH (air changes per hour) which, according to the architects, is a world record for a retro-fit building. Insulation was a big factor in creating an energy-efficient living space. The architects wrapped the home in extra layers of thick, eco-friendly insulation and installed high-performance windows to create a sealed envelope. Despite New York’s bitterly cold winters and severe summer heat, the interior will sustain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. To complement this level of comfort, the interior design is light and airy, with white walls and hardwood flooring to create an inviting space. For Bo and Itzy, having a passive home was not only about monetary and energy savings , but also to focus on creating a healthy living atmosphere. Along with the home’s many efficient features, the renovation avoided all VOC paints and harmful chemicals. Instead of using polyurethane for the flooring, they went with a natural Scandinavian lye treatment which includes using a natural mixture of oil and soap. The home was also installed with Energy Star-rated appliances, solar roof tiles  and LED lighting . Of course, the process did mean making quite a few tough decisions about the home’s original features. For Itzy, the idea of getting rid of the large chimney was daunting, but by doing so, they were able to create an extra room in the attic. As another perk, they were able to install a wine cellar in the basement that uses an innovative concept for cooling. The heat pump water heater in the basement, which draws in warm air and blows out cool air, was redesigned to blow that cooler air into the wine cellar to keep the bottles cool. With this Passive House project complete, the residents and the architects hope to inspire others to take the time to retrofit old buildings for energy efficiency. + ZH Architects Images via ZH Architects

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Old Victorian home in Brooklyn gets incredible Passive House retrofit

Old shipping container repurposed as a 40-foot-tall parking booth

July 10, 2018 by  
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Columbus, Ohio is now home to what is probably the world’s most unique parking booth. The firm behind the design, JBAD architects , turned an old shipping container  on its end to create a 40-foot-tall red tower that provides a striking contrast with the surrounding buildings. The new city landmark will be used as a parking attendant booth but has additional flexible space that could be used for a variety of services. Glowing bright red in the evening time, the shipping container tower was designed to stand out against the existing Columbus skyline. According to the architects, “This tower presents the parking booth as a new tower on the city’s skyline, realized at a scale both tall and small, its proportions and monolithic nature mimicking the office towers that surround it.” Related: 3 stacked shipping containers create a diving tower in Denmark The architects refurbished the  reclaimed shipping container  off-site to complete its transformation into a glowing “MicroTower.” As part of the renovation, the architects painted the structure a bright crimson with various lights that turn the MicroTower into a beacon in the night. To outfit the first floor as a proper booth, they installed a polycarbonate lift-and-fold garage door that acts as a shading canopy when open. The structure’s bottom floor was specifically designed to provide enough space for the parking booth attendant to keep an eye on the parking lot. The south and west facades of the shipping container tower have windows that overlook the entire parking area. However, there is plenty of space for other uses. As it is currently, the entire booth only takes up two-thirds of the MicroTower’s total floor space. The rest of the ground floor was left vacant to be used for a variety of services, including food, coffee takeout or bike storage. + Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design (JBAD) Via Dezeen Photography by Brad Feinknopf

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Old shipping container repurposed as a 40-foot-tall parking booth

Mirrored art complex in Bangkok seamlessly co-exists with the surrounding trees

June 21, 2018 by  
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A reflective facade and calculated layout blends Bangkok’s new Naiipa Art Complex into the environment. Designed by Bangkok-based Stu/D/O Architects , the mixed-use building carefully wraps around the existing trees on the property while using its mirrored cladding to camouflage the structure into the lush green backdrop. The Naiipa complex (which means “deep in the forest”) is a 25,000-square-foot building that includes an art gallery, music studio, dance studio and office space, along with restaurants and coffee shops. According to the architects, the plan was to provide a community-focused center that wouldn’t disturb the existing greenery . Stu/D/O said, “The project is named after the concept of concealing the architecture in the forest as the vision of greenery is expanded by using reflective glass all around.” Related: Gorgeous mirrored facade extension allows brick Belgian notary to blend into the landscape To create a subtle volume for the large building and its multiple uses, the design was divided into two main sections separated by a tree-filled courtyard. Building A is an elongated structure that was carefully built around an existing pink trumpet tree to protect its growth. The second building is a cube-like four-story structure. A winding multilevel walkway that connects the two buildings intertwines around the existing trees , giving visitors a chance to truly connect with nature. To disguise the complex within its surroundings, the architects used three different types of glazing to create a mirrored effect : reflective, translucent and transparent. According to the firm, the multiple glazed walls, along with the “rhythmic folding pattern” of the facade, helped accomplish the goal. The east side of the building uses a translucent double facade that helps filter direct sunlight and reduce heat on the interior. As visitors follow this facade to the entrance, the building begins to “fold,” creating a narrow entrance reminiscent of a vibrant forest. Inside, the sun’s rays are reflected off the exterior facade , creating displays of shadow and light throughout the day, again imitating a forest canopy. The structure welcomes visitors with a floating “Bird Nest” gallery that is clad in reflective glass and appears to be surrounded by trees, creating a true feeling of ‘Naiipa.’ + Stu/D/O Architects Via Archdaily Images via Stu/D/O Architects

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Mirrored art complex in Bangkok seamlessly co-exists with the surrounding trees

A striking concrete home in Ontario targets minimal environment impact

June 21, 2018 by  
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Toronto-based Teeple Architects has paired a beautiful but unusual site in Ontario with the sculptural Port Hope House, an award-winning residence that boasts a wide array of sustainable features. Located east of Toronto , the single-family rural home takes inspiration from the client’s 75-acre property that consists of a woodlot, a fallow field, an abandoned Grand Trunk railway cut and a steep cliff that falls into Lake Ontario. Built with long concrete walls, the Port Hope House appears like a rock outcropping lifting upwards. Teeple Architects carefully sited the Port Hope House to reap the advantages of the property’s four distinctive site conditions — the quiet and dark woods to the north, the open fallow field, the rail cut that hints at man’s intervention and the dramatic lake embankment to the south. The project was rendered as a “tectonic expression” that rises from the earth as a single, curving volume and then splits into two framed volumes so natural light can penetrate deep inside the home. “As an architectural composition, the project offers a unique interpretation of the domestic space — a fundamental object of architectural inquiry — based on the particular experiences and opportunities of a site,” Teeple Architects explained. “Expressed as a small handful of sculptural but restrained moves, the project breaks the mold of contemporary home design in imagining the house as a natural form, an organic but certainly not pre-ordained result of creative exchange between architect, client and environment.” Related: Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is sustainably built from CNC-milled beetle-kill timber To minimize its environmental footprint, the light-filled house features a high-performance envelope with heat-mirror film glazing and follows passive solar principles. The long concrete walls offer high thermal mass and are clad with charcoal zinc siding. Water and sewage are treated on site to reduce reliance on the grid. Rainwater is harvested for irrigation, and geothermal energy has been tapped for heating. + Teeple Architects Images by Scott Norsworthy

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Prefab DublDom home delivered via helicopter as a gift to a remote Russian town

June 19, 2018 by  
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Moscow-based design studio BIO Architects has installed its latest prefab DublDom in the snowy mountains of Kandalaksha, a ski town in northeastern Russia. The DublDom was installed as a gift for the town after resident Alexander Trunkovkiy won the competition “Find Your Place 2016,” which asked participants to submit location proposals for a DublDom and explain how a prefab home would benefit the area. Lifted into place by helicopter, this new tiny cabin in Kandalaksha serves as a shelter for tourists who flock to the mountainous region for outdoor recreation. Alexander Trunkovkiy’s winning competition entry was selected from more than 500 submissions. Trunkovkiy made a persuasive case when he implored BIO Architects to install a DublDom as a replacement for a mountain shelter that had burned down. The DublDom, he said, would serve as a place where townspeople and visitors could rest while enjoying skiing in winter, hiking in summer and views of the mountains year-round. Clad in bright red panels, the tiny cabin in Kandalaksha uses the standard DublDom modules but with a reconfigured interior optimized for high-altitude use. The lightweight,  prefab structure was constructed to the highest standards of durability and energy efficiency and then dropped into place by helicopter. “Due to combining high-tech materials, we managed to halve the weight of the modules,” the architects said. “The materials and the coating are calculated to be used at the low temperatures and high wind loads.” Related: Tiny and Affordable Russian DublDom Home Can Be Assembled in Just One Day Elevated on six pillars, the metal-framed mountain shelter comfortably accommodates up to eight people. The interior is minimally furnished with a warming stove and table in the center flanked by rack-beds on the perimeter of the large central room. The space beneath the beds is used for storage. A glazed, gabled end wall provides passive heating and panoramic views of the southern Kandalaksha gulf and islands. + BIO Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Art Lasovsky

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Prefab DublDom home delivered via helicopter as a gift to a remote Russian town

Historic Polish microbrewery and mountain lodge gets a beautiful 21st-century update

June 12, 2018 by  
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Architecture firm  ADR has just unveiled a spectacular renovation of the Trautenberk Microbrewery in the Polish village of Horní Malá Úpa. Located right at the foot of the Krkonoše mountain range, the historic brewery was in bad need of repair. To breathe new life into the outdated building, the architects stripped it down to its skeleton, but they were careful to maintain the brewery’s historic character during the renovation process . The architects began the project by stripping the structure down to its bare bones. Due to its location in a climate with severely harsh winters, the building had undergone quite a few renovations over its history, mostly in the late 1900s. To bring the structure into the 21st century, the designers wanted to give the building a more modern interior all while retaining the building’s original character. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen designs BREEAM-seeking brewery renovation in Riga Today, the brewery is a contemporary and inviting space that includes a hotel and restaurant, as well as brewery facilities in the basement. Visitors enter the renovated building through a modern lobby with wooden ceiling and floors. Red metal columns throughout the building give the space an industrial touch. The most important part of the structure is, of course, the brewery. Visitors start their tour of the brewery in the basement, which houses a revamped microbrewery that produces some 1,000,000 liters of of cold, frothy beer per year. Stumbling up from the beer tasting, guests make their way to the restaurant on the first floor. This space has also been completely renovated, but the architects managed to keep some of the building’s original features, such as lamps that date back to the pre-war years. The restaurant is an open space, with plenty of natural light and seating to enjoy fantastic views of the surrounding hills and slopes. After a few more beers, guests can make their way to the guest rooms on the upper levels of the brewery. Set up in dorm-like configurations, the hotel has a mountain lodge feel, with 130 beds, shared bathrooms and common areas. + ADR Architects + Trautenberk Microbrewery Photography by Jakub Skokan and Martin T?ma via BoysPlayNice

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This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

June 5, 2018 by  
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While some architects use various strategies to blend their design into natural surroundings, Santiago-based firm  Felipe Assadi Arquitectos chose to go bold and bright with its design for La Roja. The modular home , which is comprised of four modules stacked on top of each other, is a bright crimson, cube-like structure that rises out of the deep green forest landscape of San José de Maipo, Chile. Although the house was constructed on-site, its materials were fabricated away from the current location. Additionally, the home’s four modular boxes can be transported by trucks and installed on virtually any flat landscape. Related: Modular Gomos homes can be assembled in three days flat The two-story, 936-square-foot home comprises four  prefab modules , with each floor made up of two units. To give depth to the box-like design, the architects added a sloped roof and a beautiful double-height entryway that pulls double duty as an open-air terrace. This large outdoor area enabled the architects to create a bright and airy interior flooded with natural light . The wall that wraps around the terrace is clad in floor-to-ceiling windows, creating a strong connection between the modular home’s interior and exterior. A bright, minimalist interior with a floating staircase leading up to the bedrooms also opens up the space. Traditionally, many architects and homeowners have used natural materials or even mirrored facades to blend their home into such a beautiful landscape, but the team from Felipe Assadi Arquitectos went another route completely. The architects say that the decision to paint the house an eye-catching crimson red was meant to “activate the relationship between the landscape and the project through contrast.” + Felipe Assadi Arquitectos Via Dwell Photography by Fernando Alda

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This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

The Little House clad in black cedar is nestled among Washington’s evergreens

June 5, 2018 by  
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Seattle-based mw|works architecture + design has completed a modern cabin that offers big views with a small footprint. Aptly named the Little House, the 1,140-square-foot dwelling was built atop an existing concrete foundation. Set within a lush second growth forest that overlooks Hood Canal in Washington, the house is clad in black cedar and blackened cement infill panels to reduce the building’s visual impact on the landscape. The Little House was commissioned by clients who live full time in Houston, Texas and sought a holiday retreat in Seabeck, Washington. After spending many summers with family at a nearby property, the clients fell in love with the wilderness of the southern Canal and desired a compact cabin with a simple and modern aesthetic. They found a 1.7-acre wooded lot with an existing foundation that they wanted to repurpose. “Early design discussions focused on creating a compact, modern structure that was simple and efficient to build,” said mw|works architecture + design. “Intentionally restrained on an existing footprint, the concept grew from this premise — a simple box with large carved openings in both the roof and walls that selectively embrace the views and natural light . The small footprint ultimately served as an efficient tool to govern the design process.” Related: Beautiful Modern Retreat is a Tranquil Oasis on the Puget Sound in Washington The house is clad in taut oxidized black cedar and blackened cement infill panels. Large windows punctuate the north and west sides to frame views of the Canal below and Dabob Bay beyond. In contrast to the dark exterior, the interior features lightly painted panels and soft pine plywood . To further embrace the outdoors, the architects added a spacious patio on the sunny western corner of the home. The streamlined form is free of extraneous detail. The architects said, “The resulting project hopes to capture the essence of the modern cabin — small in size but much larger than its boundaries.” + mw|works architecture + design Images by Andrew Pogue

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The Little House clad in black cedar is nestled among Washington’s evergreens

Solar-powered multi-generational home offsets its energy consumption

June 5, 2018 by  
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Toronto-based architecture firm Williamson Williamson has completed a stunning home that embraces aging in place with a sustainably minded footprint. Located in the Ontario town of Hamilton, the House on Ancaster Creek comprises two distinct residences—one for the clients and the other for their elderly parents. The multigenerational home also reduces its energy demands with a 10KVa solar array, daylighting techniques, and low-energy fixtures throughout. Conceived as a high-density solution, the House on Ancaster Creek combines the functions of two separate homes into a single L-shaped entity. To accommodate any future mobility limitations, the architects placed the parents’ suite on the ground floor, where it’s joined with additional living spaces. Elder-friendly design considerations and features were also incorporated, such as the well-located drains and a master power switch that can immediately switch off any fixtures accidentally left on due to memory loss. The second floor master suite is accessed via a dramatic wood-clad spiral staircase that ascends from the first-floor living room located at the intersection of the two rectangular volumes. The main residence is positioned parallel to the creek and overlooks the views through floor-to-ceiling glazing. Full-height glazing is also used throughout the home to create a seamless connection with the outdoors. The material palette also reflects this connection: the ground floor of the home is clad in three-and-a-half-inch thick locally quarried Algonquin limestone while timber is used throughout. Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place Despite the abundance of glazing, the home manages to keep energy demands to a minimum thanks to a highly insulated envelope and a high-performance triple-pane wood-frame window system with an average Uw of .77. Radiant heating is also used to complement a high-efficiency furnace, while LEDs and low-energy fixtures are installed throughout. A 37-module 9.8 kW solar array is installed on two of the flat roofs to offset energy consumption. + Williamson Williamson Via ArchDaily Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Inc.

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