Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

August 18, 2017 by  
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Huge circular windows flood the interior of this funky apartment block in Melbourne with natural light. BKK Architects designed the Cirqua Apartments as a series of staggered volumes that reference the region’s historical housing while reinterpreting it in a modern way. The block occupies a steeply sloping site in a residential neighborhood in Melbourne. Its exterior is dominated by huge porthole windows that span almost the full height of the six cubes. The openings bring natural light into the interior and maximize the connection of the project to the surrounding garden. Related: 6,000 Circular Windows Flood Japan’s Kanazawa Library With Light The open-plan interiors feature a lot of natural materials and warm colors, with circular light fittings echoing the circular windows. White walls, marble and wood create a delicate visual balance. Beside its remarkable design features, the project also creates a precedent in the area’s multi-residential market. It was built to appeal to owner-occupiers rather than buy-to-let investors. + BKK Architects Via Dezeen Lead photo by Peter Bennetts

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Huge circular windows flood Melbourne’s Cirqua Apartments with natural light

Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

August 8, 2017 by  
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Melbourne-based Branch Studio Architects crafted this dark and handsome number hidden away among the trees in Victoria. Built as a house extension with a master suite, the Pavilion Between Trees features rammed-charcoal walls, clean and crisp lines, and a dark earthy palette of complementary materials. Full height glazing opens the interior up to the outdoors and frames view of the forested surroundings. Connected to the main house via a corridor, Pavilion Between Trees is a semi-detached structure that appears to standalone in the landscape. The 85-square-meter compact extension is simply but tastefully furnished and includes a master bedroom, en-suite bathroom, and extra storage space arranged in a linear plan. The rooms are delineated by subtle changes in floor level rather than walls. Natural light plays a key role in the design and is let in through clerestory windows and full-height glazing. The lighting brings out the texture of the earthy material palette, from the grainy rammed-charcoal walls to the smooth naturally finished timber and steel joinery, that are left exposed to develop a patina over time. Related: Rustic Off-Grid Pump House is a Solar-Powered Weekend Getaway in Australia The home addition was built on a clearing between existing mature trees to reduce site impact. Full-height glazing, which wraps around the western end and that also punctuates the north and south sides, frame views and strengthens connection to the outdoors. The clerestory windows also offer glimpses of the tree canopy. An outdoor washing area also allows the homeowners to enjoy the outdoors in a private space protected by a mesh screen. + Branch Studio Architects Via Dezeen Images via Branch Studio Architects

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Rammed-charcoal home extension is a handsome oasis between the trees

Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

August 7, 2017 by  
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Windows are much more than just panes of glass in Anders Berensson Architects’ latest project in the Stockholm archipelago. The architects recently completed Look Out Lodge, a house extension built of locally sourced materials that functions like a standalone cabin. Custom-made prefabricated windows were added in the second phase of the project and define the areas for sleeping and working, all the while immersing the owner in nature. Clad in timber inside and out, Look Out Lodge was built on-site using local materials and building techniques. The two window additions—a Sky Tower and desk window—were prefabricated on site and slotted into place after the primary structure was completed. The small house extension is just large enough to accommodate a sleeping area and workspace. “Another goal with the design was to redefine the idea of a window as a flat readymade glass piece into an architectural element that creates its own space with a clear focus towards the outside,” wrote the architects. “This goal led to the design of a sky tower one can crawl into when being in bed totally dedicated to the sky and one corner window with a desk inserted to it that creates a work space on the inside and table for flowers on the outside with a clear focus and direction to the outside field.” The architects designed the Sky Tower to give the homeowners the countryside luxury of falling asleep beneath a starry sky. Topped with a round skylight and lined with spruce , the Sky Tower wraps around a custom-built bed and provides the perfect space to read during the day and for stargazing at night. The exterior draws on the local tradition of jigsaw facades and is punctuated by a pattern of native fauna and flora including large animals, amphibians, birds, flowers, and fish. Related: Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse The Desk Window prefabricated element is a corner unit that frames views of a wildflower meadow, one of the most beloved features of the Stockholm archipelago. The desk unit features a solar shade and a red terra-cotta concrete slab with holes for flower plants on the outside of the window, while a curved birch plywood tabletop with a round cut-out for sitting is located on the interior. Holes drilled into the desk are made for different purposes, including ventilation, cables, lamps, pencils, and even for pencil sharpening. + Anders Berensson Architects

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Timber house extension with prefab elements immerses owners in Stockholms outdoors

Centuries-old apartment in Israel transformed into a remarkable modern "cave"

July 24, 2017 by  
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This ancient apartment in Israel was skillfully renovated to unify its cavernous, centuries-old rooms into a modern residence that offers stunning views of the sea. Pitsou Kedem Architects concealed some parts of the traditional arches while uncovering others to create an elegant combination of the old and the new. The rooms of the apartment, located in Tel Aviv-Yafo – an ancient port city in Israel– have been altered over hundreds of years, giving each room its own unique character. The architects approached the refurbishment of the entire space as an opportunity to bring more natural light into the interior and open it up toward the sea. Related: Decrepit cave transformed into a beautiful modern home in China The integrated interior spaces are sheltered underneath beautiful arches . Some of the decorations added over the years have been covered in plaster, while the dome in the kitchen was uncovered. The team introduced a new raw concrete floor with accentuated filing stones to the floor level. Black sheet covering emphasize the openings connecting the rooms. These dark elements also hide new technical systems in the walls. + Pitsou Kedem Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Amit Geron

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Centuries-old apartment in Israel transformed into a remarkable modern "cave"

New discovery suggests large quantities of water hidden inside the Moon

July 24, 2017 by  
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For years, scientists have assumed that the interior of the Moon is dry. However, a new study of satellite data has located numerous volcanic deposits around the moon – which could indicate large quantities of water trapped beneath its surface. The study, published in Nature Geoscience , explains that the ancient deposits are believed to be glass beads formed by the explosive eruption of magma from the deep lunar interior. As a result of this discovery, scientists are formulating a new opinion that the lunar mantle is actually water-rich. The study was led by Ralph Milliken, an associate professor in Brown University’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences . He said of the findings, “The key question is whether those Apollo samples represent the bulk conditions of the lunar interior or instead represent unusual or perhaps anomalous water-rich regions within an otherwise ‘dry’ mantle. By looking at the orbital data, we can examine the large pyroclastic deposits on the Moon that were never sampled by the Apollo or Luna missions. The fact that nearly all of them exhibit signatures of water suggests that the Apollo samples are not anomalous, so it may be that the bulk interior of the Moon is wet.” To detect the water content of the lunar volcanic deposits , scientists used orbital spectrometers to measure the light that bounces off a planetary surface. After collecting that data, they took into account the wavelengths of light which are absorbed or reflected by the surface to get an idea of which minerals and other compounds may be found in the rock’s interior. One challenge was taking into account the rising surface temperatures over the course of a day. Using the new thermal correction, the scientists were able to find evidence of water in almost all of the pyroclastic deposits that had been previously mapped across the Moon’s surface. Such deposits include the Apollo 15 and 17 landing sites. “The distribution of these water-rich deposits is the key thing,” said Milliken. “They’re spread across the surface, which tells us that the water found in the Apollo samples isn’t a one-off. Lunar pyroclastics seem to be universally water-rich, which suggests the same may be true of the mantle .” Now that evidence has been obtained suggesting that the interior of the Moon is water-rich, theories about its formation are evolving. Scientists presently believe the moon formed from debris left behind after an object about the size of Mars slammed into the Earth early in the solar system’s history. However, the original theory assumes that the Moon’s interior was dry. “The growing evidence for water inside the Moon suggest that water did somehow survive, or that it was brought in shortly after the impact by asteroids or comets before the Moon had completely solidified,” said co-author Shuai Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii and a recent Brown Ph.D. graduate. “The exact origin of water in the lunar interior is still a big question.” The finding has huge implications for future lunar exploration . The volcanic beads don’t contain a lot of water, but the deposits are large, meaning the H2O could be extracted. Said Li, “Anything that helps save future lunar explorers from having to bring lots of water from home is a big step forward, and our results suggest a new alternative.” + Nature Geoscience Via Phys Images via Depositphotos , Wikimedia , Pixabay

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New discovery suggests large quantities of water hidden inside the Moon

Tiny Wirmboden chapel in Austria is made of stone sourced on-site

July 6, 2017 by  
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Nestled in an alpine valley in Western Austria, this tiny chapel is a serene haven for local farmers. After an avalanche destroyed the town’s original chapel, including several other huts in 2012, the community decided to rebuild, so they commissioned Innauer-Matt Architects to design a space for gatherings and celebrations using locally-sourced materials.   The Wirmboden chapel is located in at the foot of the steep north face of the valley’s Kanisfluh mountain in Austria . Local farmers organized the initiative to rebuild the original structure, destroyed by an avalanche in 2012. Built over the course of three years, the chapel complements the surrounding alpine architecture and offers a space where people can gather, celebrate and pray. Related: Modern chapel makes a powerful but minimalist statement in the Austrian countryside Locally sourced stone make up the walls of the building, with rough split shingles covering the steep truss. A roof opening brings natural light into the interior. Memorial photo cards were placed in the space between rafters to commemorate loved ones. The entrance, truss and bell space were made from German spruce conventionally used for making violins and guitars. + Innauer-Matt Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Adolf Bereuter

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Tiny Wirmboden chapel in Austria is made of stone sourced on-site

Hollands first Vertical Forest to rise with 10,000 air-purifying plants

July 6, 2017 by  
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Hot on the heels of the world’s first Forest City in China , Stefano Boeri Architetti has announced their winning bid for the first Vertical Forest in the Netherlands. Set to rise in Utrecht, the Hawthorn Tower will, like its Milanese predecessor , be blanketed in greenery and is expected to absorb over 5.4 tons of carbon dioxide. The equivalent of one hectare of woods will be installed on the tower to create a real urban ecosystem with over 30 different vegetal species. Slated to begin construction in 2019, the Hawthorn Tower will infuse greenery into the heart of Jaarbeursboulevard area close to Utrecht Station. The tower is one of two tall buildings in the development, the other designed by Amsterdam-based MVSA studio. “The 90 meters in height tower designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti attempts to create, in Utrecht city center, an innovative experience of cohabitation between city and nature,” said the architects. Around 10,000 plants of different species—360 trees, 9,640 shrubs and flower—will be installed on all sides of the facade. The mixed-use building is positioned as the “new healthy center of Utrecht” and will comprise offices, fitness and yoga areas, bike parking, and public leisure space. Its scale and design will thoughtfully react and complement the surrounding urban fabric. The tower will also host the Vertical Forest Hub, a research center on worldwide urban forestation that’s open to the public on the ground floor and directly connected to the sixth-floor roof garden. The research center will showcase the different technical and botanic solutions chosen for the tower and track the progress of Vertical Forests under construction around the world. Related: China breaks ground on first “Forest City” that fights air pollution The Hawthorn Tower is the latest Vertical Forest of its kind to be unveiled, this time in the heart of Europe, and follows in the steps of other urban forestation projects designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti. Other projects include soon-to-be-completed Vertical Forests in Nanjing and Lausanne, a greenery-covered Mountain Hotel in Guizhou , and other green buildings planned in Paris, Tirana, and Shanghai. Construction on Hawthorn Tower is expected to finish in 2022. + Stefano Boeri Architetti Images by Imaginary A2 / Stefano Boeri Architetti

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This green-roofed castle home in England is cooled by the ocean breeze

June 29, 2017 by  
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With its thick undulating walls and green roof , this villa in England translates the architecture of traditional Celtic fortifications into the language of sustainability. Tonkin Liu Architects ‘s Ness Point House is a castle-like structure that protects its occupants from the elements while achieving a high level of energy efficiency. The house occupies a cliff top site in Dover, South East England, and functions as an airtight shelter that utilizes passive and active sustainable design features. It utilizes heat recovery and solar thermal renewable systems to maximize energy efficiency in the winter, while the long gallery skylight and eco-vents enable passive cooling during the hot summer. Related: A green-roofed Hobbit home anyone can build in just 3 days The undulating plan and inclined sections create a cavernous internal space that offers flexibility of use and captures changing lighting conditions. As if growing out of the land, the house is covered in a vegetative roof that slopes downward at the rear of the site. + Tonkin Liu Architects Via Plataforma Arquitectura Lead photo by Nick Guttridge

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This green-roofed castle home in England is cooled by the ocean breeze

Solar-powered English country house offsets all its CO2 emissions

June 13, 2017 by  
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Three generations live under one roof in this sustainably minded home that breaks from the norm of the picturesque English countryside. Macdonald Wright Architects and Rural Office for Architecture designed the multigenerational home , called the Caring Wood House, that’s powered by solar and uses as little energy as possible. Topped with angular rooflines that reference the region’s hop-drying oast towers, this modern and energy-efficient estate was created as “a carbon neutral response to climate change.” Located in 84 acres of rolling hills in Kent, Caring Wood is located on land formerly overtaken by agricultural polytunnels. “The house engages in the dialogue of critical regionalism: progressive design practice which is also infused with a spirit of local identity,” wrote Macdonald Wright Architects. “Its brief was to embody the spirit of the English country house and estate in a design which would embrace its context and landscape, while providing a carbon neutral response to climate change .” A major challenge of the new-build was satisfying PPS7, a planning document that strictly controls new housing in the English countryside and requires designs “be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas” and “reflect the highest standards in architecture,” among other criteria. The architects successfully won planning approval with their carbon-neutral design strategy that included planting 25,000 native trees that will absorb an estimated 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 40 years. Caring Wood also makes historic reference to the area’s traditional oast houses with its angular roofs covered in 150,000 handmade peg tiles sourced from Sussex. Related: Fabulous multigenerational home allows owners to comfortably age in place From a distance, the house appears to comprise a series of freestanding buildings, however, the buildings are actually interconnected at their rag-stone bases and are arranged around a shared central courtyard that provides passive cooling in summer. The buildings are built with cross-laminated timber structures and are powered by solar energy and heated with a ground-source heat pump. Rainwater is also collected and reused on site. + Macdonald Wright Architects + Rural Office for Architecture Via Dezeen Images by Heiko Prigge, lead by James Morris

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Solar-powered English country house offsets all its CO2 emissions

Nature-inspired Chrysalis pavilion pops up in a Maryland forest

May 18, 2017 by  
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New York-based architecture studio MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY completed an experimental amphitheater that “provides an experience around the clock.” Located in Merriweather Park of Columbia, Maryland the organic, nature-inspired venue, called The Chrysalis, comprises cascading green arches that give it a sculptural appearance. In addition to their eye-catching beauty and structural support, The Chrysalis’ arches also vary in size and function. The largest arch frames Stage A, the main area for events located next to the smaller Stage B. Other arches frame a truck loading dock, a grand staircase entrance, and balconies with views to the city. The digitally designed amphitheater was created with a self-supporting shell with an exoskeleton of steel tubing. Despite the 12,000-square-foot venue’s lightweight appearance, the sturdy structure can sustain 2,000 pounds of equipment on each of its 70 point loads. Nearly 8,000 aluminum shingles fabricated by Zahner clad The Chrysalis. Related: MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY’s ultralight informal amphitheater in France looks like an opening chrysalis “Each shingle is painted one of four shades of green that is taken from nature and pushed to the point of artificiality,” write the architects. “Together they amount to a subtle green gradient that renders The Chrysalis an iconic signal at the same time that it is camouflaged into its natural surroundings.” + MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY Images via MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY and Zahner

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Nature-inspired Chrysalis pavilion pops up in a Maryland forest

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