Gorgeous lakeside home takes cues from Pacific Northwest midcentury modernism

January 2, 2018 by  
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The tradition of midcentury modernism in the Pacific Northwest lives on in the handsome West Mercer Residence nestled along the shores of Lake Washington. SKL Architects designed this cedar-clad abode and worked closely with local craftspeople to create the custom 5,500-square-foot home with enviable views framed through large expanses of glass. California may be considered the stronghold of midcentury modernism in the West, but the design movement also crept up to the Pacific Northwest led by the likes of architects William Fletcher and Paul Kirk. Taking cues from the neighborhood, the West Mercer Residence continues the “tradition of mid-century Pacific Northwest modernism.” The three-story home is wrapped in native cedar that contrasts beautifully with black steel, rock, and cement. Full-height windows blur the line between the indoors and outdoors, as does the series of steps that lead down the grassy slope towards the lakeshore. SKL Architects was tasked to design a home that would replace a small, cluttered one with a more spacious abode accommodating a busy family with young children. “The house can be imagined as two bars of space, one public and one private, which are connected by a central double height volume,” wrote the architects. “The design emphasizes the seamless connection between internal and external spaces. The house is oriented towards the lake, so that water and light are present throughout the house. Floor and wall materials are continuous from indoors to outside, blurring the delineation of the two spaces.” Related: Gorgeous copper-clad home celebrates craft in the Pacific Northwest The large communal areas are mostly placed on the main level, while the comparatively smaller bedrooms are located above on the upper floor and the secondary rooms tucked below on the lower level. Local craftsmanship is visible throughout the home from the bronze and leather front door to a custom steel chandelier that can be raised and lowered. + SKL Architects Images by Tim Bies

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Gorgeous lakeside home takes cues from Pacific Northwest midcentury modernism

Shanghai’s sponge districts fight flooding with green space

January 2, 2018 by  
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Shanghai ‘s Lingang District has installed major green spaces in an effort to improve the city’s drainage and environment. As China has rapidly urbanized, impervious, ubiquitous concrete has blocked the natural flow of water, causing cities to be increasingly vulnerable to flooding. Known as “sponge cities,” the green space development projects in Lingang have incorporated wetlands, gardens, and rooftop plants to more effectively channel excess rainfall. In addition to these green spaces, the streets in Lingang are paved with a permeable pavement, which enables the soil below to absorb water. Lingang’s experiment in green flood prevention may serve as a model for other urban areas dealing with the impact of extreme weather and rapid development. “In the natural environment, most precipitation infiltrates the ground or is received by surface water, but this is disrupted when there are large-scale hard pavements,” said Wen Mei Dubbelaar, director of water management China at Arcadis, according to the Guardian . “Now, only about 20-30 percent of rainwater infiltrates the ground in urban areas , so it breaks the natural water circulation and causes waterlogging and surface water pollution.” Related: Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest Lingang, also known as Nanhui New City, is fortunate in that it still maintains significant open space of land and water with which to implement these innovative ideas. Older areas of Shanghai have proven more challenging to retrofit. Green roofs seem to be the most effective solution for Shanghai’s more fully developed districts, though even older spaces like the former industrial West Bund Riverside have been transformed to capture excess water. By 2030, 80 percent of the surface area of each sponge city district will be required to incorporate some form of green flooding prevention. Due to challenges, including currently inadequate funding from the central government, it seems unlikely that these sponge cities will be able to meet that goal. Nevertheless, Lingang’s solution to a global problem comprises an inspiring step towards a better urban environment. “Sponge city infrastructure is beneficial because it is also changing the living environment, helping with pollution and creating a better quality of life in these areas,” said Dubbelaar. “The initial driver for sponge cities was the extreme flooding of urban areas, but the change in mindset, that development should have a more holistic, sustainable approach, is an extra benefit that is evolving during this project.” Via the Guardian Images via Depositphotos and Turenscape

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The spinning house uses the force of hurricanes to anchor itself to the ground

December 28, 2017 by  
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This futuristic, hurricane-proof home is cleverly designed to use the force of storms to withstand extreme wind loads. Margot Krasojevi? Architects designed house to rotate around a helicoid retaining wall, burying itself into the land. The stronger the storm, the more tenaciously the home anchors itself to the earth. The Self-Excavation Hurricane House’s main living spaces are located in a precast reinforced concrete frame. This lightweight structure has a series of rubber-coated, concertina wall sections that provide the flexibility to adapt while the home rotates. Related: Floating, solar-powered ‘dragonfly’ bridge can sail to new locations The house is set upon an artificial island that is landscaped to flush flood water away from the main living areas. The surrounding topsoil directs water to deeper soil that functions as a bioswale . The wetland absorbs and temporarily stores floodwater, releasing it slowly into its surroundings. This part of the project helps with land reclamation and water purification . + Margot Krasojevi? Architects

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The spinning house uses the force of hurricanes to anchor itself to the ground

Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability

December 27, 2017 by  
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Japanese influence weaves throughout the stunning Pound Ridge Residence, a luxurious forever home in rural New York designed by Tsao & McKown Architects for an acclaimed international clothing designer and her husband. The strong architect-client relationship spanning the course of 20 years granted the architects design control not just over the architecture, but the landscape, interiors, and custom furnishings as well. Built to target environmental and social sustainability, the timber-framed house minimizes its energy and resource footprint and is designed for aging in place. Set on 30 acres of forested land, the 2,900-square-foot Pound Ridge Residence opens up to the outdoors through ample full-height glazing and covered walkways. “The structure is formed of exposed heavy timber construction , a rarity today, which, in addition to its natural beauty, has the added advantage of reducing the need for interior walls,” wrote the architects, adding that timber frame construction was built of local wood . “The load-bearing timber beams span the interiors and, with their darkened hues, recede from view as they frames the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the gardens and surrounding woods.” With design control over the architecture, interiors, furnishings, and landscaping, the architects achieved a customized and “holistically conceived environment” reflecting needs and preferences of the clients, whom they knew well. “With full awareness of how they live, work, and entertain, we conceived the furnishings simultaneously with the architecture,” said the architects. Related: Solar-powered forever home is a modern take on the rustic farmhouse The single-story home mainly features open-plan layouts that take advantage of natural ventilation and light through sliding glass doors, windows, and operable timber panels. Light is also let in through two large asymmetrically shaped skylights. Radiant geothermal heating and cooling regulate indoor temperatures and are complemented by two hearths with sculptural custom bronze chimneys. Low-energy materials were used in construction and all excavated stone was reused in the gardens and landscape. The exterior spaces and landscaping feature native species and minimize impermeable paving to capture runoff water. + Tsao & McKown Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Simon Upton

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Geothermal-powered forever home targets environmental and social sustainability

Architects use local materials to turn an abandoned resort in Beijing into a remarkable hotel

December 20, 2017 by  
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An abandoneded resort in  Beijing has been transformed into a gorgeous luxury hotel that highlights the surrounding natural scenery. SYN Architects amplified the sensation of “natural wilderness” at The Creek Park Hotel using locally-sourced natural materials such as firewood, pebble stone and wood. The hotel is located in Beijing’s Pinggu District, just over 9 miles away from the Jinhai Lake International Resort. It replaces an abandoned resort estate, expanding and rebuilding the property into a high-end luxury destination surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Related: Vertical forest Mountain Hotel will clean the air in Guizhou, China The architects created an extensive 360° panoramic view effect in order to immerse visitors into the landscape. They inserted open rectangular terraces of different sizes with mountain-like features in between original structures, with a panoramic restaurant and a scenic glass platform delivering a unique atmosphere. The roof, structurally independent for other volumes, allows sunlight to come in through. Related: World’s first MUJI hotels to open in China and Japan Vertical arrangements of wood surround the terrace to strengthen the feeling of “natural wilderness”. The use of natural materials helped reduce construction costs and deliver the appearance that mimics the look of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. + SYN Architects

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Melbourne architects upcycle 1960s warehouse into stunning energy-efficient home

October 25, 2017 by  
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Melbourne-based Zen Architects  converted a rundown 1960s warehouse into a gorgeous, energy-efficient home . The green-centric architects focused the ethos of the project on retaining and reusing as much of the warehouse’s original materials as possible while simultaneously creating an ultra-efficient, light-filled family home. The architects focused the project on using whatever they could from the almost 60-year-old space to create a contemporary home. The original frame and open layout of the 2,583-square-foot warehouse was kept as it was in order to start with an open slate. To begin the project, the design team carefully stripped various original features from the warehouse such as light fixtures, sprinkler pipes, doors, cladding, and roof sheeting – all to be repurposed into the new home, which has a 6.1 star energy rating. Related: Perkins + Will overhauls a boring concrete warehouse into beautiful LEED Gold offices The existing concrete floor of the warehouse was kept in tact for two reasons: to retain the industrial character of the building and for the energy-efficient benefits that come along with a concrete base. The living space was carefully crafted into the open layout to create a comfy living area down below with the bedrooms on a newly created “floating” mezzanine level installed in the roof’s volume between the existing trusses. Plywood pods were used to create spaces for the bedrooms and en suite bathrooms, which are reached by a wooden staircase. A continual sense of light and space was achieved by strategically placing windows and glazed panels that provide a seamless connection between the interior living space the outdoor areas. To add open-air space within the living area, the architects created a north-facing interior courtyard, which in addition to flooding the interior with natural light , provides natural heat to the interior during the wintertime. To waterproof the space, the architects laid a new ground level slab that drains rain water to a storm water pit. The slab is hidden under a timber deck made of recycled wood that runs through the interior and exterior spaces. + Zen Architects Via Dwell

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Prefab tiny cabin perched on a granite rock to minimize environmental impact

October 4, 2017 by  
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This solitary cabin in Lincoln, New Hampshire, was built to fit the rock on which it sits, rather than the other way around. I-Kanda Architects designed the building as an angular timber structure precariously perched on a granite outcropping in the White Mountain. Using just nine foundation points and prefabricated framing, the architects specifically designed the 900-square-foot cabin to have a gentle environmental impact. Providing stunning views of the valley and several prominent peaks of the mountain range, the home was designed to minimize the amount of trees that needed to be cleared. Initially conceived as a weekend getaway for two people, the structure evolved to meet the spatial and functional demands of a family of four. Related: Dreamy cabin is a luxurious escape in the New Zealand bush The growing needs of the family combined with the site’s unique spatial restraints required the architects to maximize the footprint of the building without imposing on the landscape—and the result + I-Kanda Architects Via Architizer Photos by Matt Delphenich

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Canyon-inspired research center in Phoenix clad in gorgeous recycled copper panels

September 18, 2017 by  
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Los Angeles-based Co Architects  just finished work on the new Biomedical Campus Health Sciences Education Building in Phoenix, Arizona. The massive building – which has already earned a LEED Silver certification – is clad in a perforated skin made up of almost 5,000 recycled copper panels that create a resilient envelope designed to withstand the city’s extreme desert climate. Located on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, the massive 10-story building is 245,000 square feet and houses two 80-seat auditoriums, along with eight floors of laboratory space. The design of the building’s innovative cladding system was inspired by the need to create a resilient building that would withstand Arizona’s extreme dry heat while providing comfortable interior space for the large building. Related: Copper-clad chapel is a beacon of unity in one of Helsinki’s most multicultural districts To create the cladding, the architects used almost 300,000 pounds of molded recycled copper panels to create an airy, striated sunscreen that shields the interior from direct solar exposure while providing ventilated air on the inside. To create the airy facade, the architects used a Building information modeling (BIM) software to create 3D models of the exterior panels. The team then collaborated with Chandler-based Kovach Building Enclosures to form, bend and perforate some 4,800 panels to create the envelope, which includes 2-inch air space, rigid insulation, and a waterproofing membrane. The integrated system not only allows natural light to enter the building, but was also formed to create dual building wings that mimic the shape of a tall, narrow canyon-esque landscape. The copper cladding for the building is made up of 90 to 95 percent recycled material, which helped the design achieve a LEED Silver certification . + CO Architects Via Architizer

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Canyon-inspired research center in Phoenix clad in gorgeous recycled copper panels

C.F. Mller’s stunning Low Energy Center in London showcases an innovative use of steel

September 14, 2017 by  
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Europe’s largest new residential heat network – the Greenwich Peninsula Low Energy Center in London – saves over 20,000 tons of carbon every year. C.F. Møller Architects and British artist Conrad Shawcross  designed the groundbreaking facility, which is clad in hundreds of triangular panels that fold and flow across the surface of the tower. The center won this year’s coveted GAGA Architecture Award for the most innovative and effective use of galvanized steelwork. The Greenwich Peninsula Low Energy Center sits at the entrance of the peninsula next to the Blackwall Tunnel Approach. It houses boilers and CHP that provide heat energy to the businesses and homes due to be built in the coming years Its impressive appearance can be attributed to Conrad Shawcross. The artist designed the facade of the 160-foot (49 meter) high tower as a way of communicating commitment to sustainable and affordable energy for all. Related: C.F. Møller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design The perforated steel panels create a Moiré Effect , and facilitate animated patterns of light at night. Named ‘The Optic Cloak’ the structure is formed of hundreds of triangular panels – each the size of a London bus – folded across the surface of the tower forming complex geometric patterns. + C.F. Møller Architects + Conrad Shawcross Photos by Mark Hadden

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This amazing rotating home lets you change the view with a push of a button

September 13, 2017 by  
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UK-based D*Haus has put a new “spin” on residential architecture by developing a home with a spectacular rotating roof! The newly unveiled Devon House has a glazed top floor that spins on circular platform, giving the homeowners unobstructed views of the surrounding countryside from literally every angle. The rotating home was designed to make the most of views on the sloped site. “Our client dreamt of waking up in their bed with views across this landscape and then having the ability to rotate the living room and kitchen so that they could enjoy the same view throughout the day,” explained David Ben Grunberg and Daniel Woolfson from D*Haus. Related: The Transforming D*Haus Changes Shape to Accommodate Different Seasons Building upon their Dynamic D*Haus, the architects developed a triangular swiveling roof that wouldn’t distract from the home’s rough stone base, “We took an equilateral triangle and started to rotate it around an open core, we wanted the circle to be a rotating platform that would move and change with the external climatic conditions and with the clients preferences,” said the architects. The resulting design is an equilateral volume with three elongated corners that house a bedroom, lounge, and dining room on the top floor. The home rotates in accordance with the sun’s position as well as changing seasons and weather conditions. Every room has large glazed walls that offers amazing views and tons of natural light . + The D*Haus Company Via Dezeen Images by Jason Luckett and Park Hin Yeung

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