A solar-powered home hides behind a colossal, sloped green roof

October 12, 2018 by  
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We often profess our love of green roofs , but a recent home design in Krakow has really taken the idea to the next level. Polish firm Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa has just unveiled a beautiful home with an enormous green roof that’s sloped over the entire northern side of the home. The roof is so large that it camouflages the barn-inspired home entirely on one side, providing the home with its name, the House Behind the Roof. The 2,000-square-foot home is located in a residential area outside Krakow. The building is part of a housing estate with 10 other homes built relatively close together. According to the architects, the first stages of the planning were focused on ensuring the privacy of the homeowners. As a result, the home’s design was created with the immense roof that pulls double duty as an eave that shades the interior while providing the utmost in privacy. Related: A green-roofed underground extension breaks the mold for school architecture Although the architects wanted to go with a traditional, flat green roof, local building codes prohibited them from doing so. As an alternative, the architects decided to top the home with a 45-degree sloped plane on the northern side. Covered with lush succulents, the roof gives a touch of whimsy to the design but also acts as a privacy shade and insulation. On the southern side of the home, multiple solar panels soak up the sun’s energy. At the apex of the A-frame roof, a series of large skylights allow natural light into the home. The house is clad in a light-hued Western Red Cedar. Because of the resilient nature of the wood , it wasn’t necessary to treat the timber beforehand. As a result, the wood will take on a silver-gray patina over time. Additionally, care for the green roof is also minimal. Long-lasting dry periods in this region are not common, and the succulents planted on the roof are low-maintenance. The rustic wooden aesthetic continues throughout the interior of the two-story home. Along with the skylights, there are multiple windows that are mounted high in the walls to provide the interior with natural light and ventilation. The home is laid out in a rectangular plan, reminiscent of a traditional barn . The ground floor houses the kitchen and living space, along with a bathroom and utility room. The master bedroom and en suite bathroom are on the top floor, as well as two extra bedrooms and a children’s playroom. On the bottom floor, large sliding glass doors lead out to an open-air deck with a barbecue and dining space. + Superhelix Pracownia Projektowa Via Archdaily Photography by Bart?omiej Drabik

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A solar-powered home hides behind a colossal, sloped green roof

New study suggests it’s time to replace modern, grassy lawns

October 12, 2018 by  
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The lush green lawns surrounding many homes, businesses, parks and other outdoor spaces might not be the greatest idea, according to Australian scientist Maria Ignatieva and Swedish scientist Marcus Hedblom. In a new study published in the journal  Science , the urban ecologists suggested that we need to rethink the modern lawn in favor of more sustainable options. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that the negative environmental consequences of green lawns far outweigh the natural benefits, and we need to start exploring new forms of groundcover. The scientists claimed that the amount of water , fertilizer and mowing that lawns require is a problem — especially when we use gas-powered mowers that emit carbon monoxide and other toxins into the air. The use of those mowers negates any positives of the lawn pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. Related: How to transform your wasteful grassy space into a food forest garden The ecologists also pointed out that globally, lawns occupy an amount of land equivalent to the area of England and Spain combined. In arid regions of the U.S., lawns are responsible for 75 percent of household water consumption. To make matters worse, weed killers and fertilizers used to keep lawns pristine find their way to the water table. If you think artificial turf is a solution, think again. Turf does not contribute to carbon sequestration — the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — and it also causes problems with water runoff. It is also possible that it could poison local water tables. Ignatieva and Hedblom said that some communities have started allowing natural meadows to grow instead of lawns. In places like Berlin, residents have allowed the landscape to grow wild. These ideas are a step in the right direction, but the ecologists suggest the need for more scientific research into some plant types that could develop into naturally short grass alternatives that don’t require a lot of water for survival. The study also urges people to change their way of thinking when it comes to their lawns. + Science Mag Via Phys.org Images via Daniel Watson

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An energy-efficient modern church references Utahs mining history

October 11, 2018 by  
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Salt Lake City-based design practice Sparano + Mooney Architecture  designed a church for West Valley City, Utah that’s strikingly modern yet sensitive to the existing site context. Located near Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, the world’s deepest open pit mine and a major employer in the area, the church pays homage to the working class community’s mining and construction past with its material palette. The award-winning, LEED Silver-targeted church — named Saint Joseph the Worker Church after the patron saint of laborers — was completed on a budget of $4.5 million and spans 23,000 square feet. In order to comfortably seat 800 people within a reasonably close distance to the altar, Sparano + Mooney Architecture designed Saint Joseph the Worker Church in a circular form with rounded and thick board-formed concrete walls. In addition to the new 800-seat church, the 10-acre site also includes an administrative building with offices and meeting rooms, indoor and outdoor community gathering and fellowship spaces, a large walled courtyard centered on a water feature and ample landscaping. After the architects salvaged parts of the original, now-demolished church that was built in 1965, they added new elements of steel, copper and handcrafted timber to reference the area’s mining and construction past. “Drawing from this lineage, a palette of materials was selected that express the transformation of the raw material by the worker, revealing the craft and method of construction,” the architects explained. Related: Historic Australian church transformed into a stunning family home for five “These materials include textural walls of board-formed concrete, constructed in the traditional method of stacking rough sawn lumber; a rainscreen of clear milled cedar; vertical grain fir boards and timbers used to create the altar reredos and interior of the Day Chapel; flat seam copper panels form the cladding for the Day Chapel and skylight structure over the altar; and glazing components requiring a highly crafted assembly of laminated glazing with color inter-layers, acid etched glazing, and clear glass insulated units with mullion-less corners,” the firm said. “The design harkens back to the mining history of the early parish, and details ordinary materials to become extraordinary.” + Sparano + Mooney Architecture Images by Dana Sohm, Jeremy Bittermann and Sparano + Mooney Architecture

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An energy-efficient modern church references Utahs mining history

MAD brings a surreal sports campus that mimics a green, martian landscape to China

October 5, 2018 by  
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Architect Ma Yansong and his Beijing-based firm MAD Architects ’ surreal designs often look as though they come from outer space — and the new masterplan for the Quzhou Sports Campus in China is no different. The massive development just broke ground in the historic Chinese city in Zhejiang province and will bring with it an undulating green landscape with mixed programming. Inspired by the traditional Chinese painting style called ‘shan shui,’ MAD Architects conceived a park-like setting with green roofs draped over buildings to mimic mountains and waterways. The first and second phases of the Quzhou Sports Campus will span a little over half of the development’s total size and include a 30,000-seat stadium , a 10,000-seat gymnasium, a 2,000-seat natatorium, a national sports complex, an outdoor sports venue, a science and technology museum, a hotel, a youth center and various retail spaces. The large heft of these buildings will be hidden under an undulating green landscape that the architects liken to an “earth-art landscape in the center of the city — a poetic landscape that falls somewhere between that of Earth and Mars.” The Quzhou Sports Campus is ringed with a dense forest that hides the martian landscape and adds to its mysterious nature. At the heart of the park is a lake that serves as a sunken garden surrounded by buildings shaped as climbable green mountains. In another example of landscape mimicry, the architects designed the stadium in the likeness of a crater that’s crowned by a translucent cloud-like “halo.” The building interiors will also reinforce a connection to the environment with ample glazing so that visitors always feel as though they are immersed in nature. Related: Futuristic “spaceship” Lucas Museum breaks ground in Los Angeles Yansong said, “We dream not only of creating an urban space about sports and ecology but also turning it into a unique land art park for the world, establishing a relationship between the city’s heritage and history of Shanshui culture.” + MAD Architects

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MAD brings a surreal sports campus that mimics a green, martian landscape to China

A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia

October 3, 2018 by  
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When clients tasked Melbourne-based firm MRTN Architects with designing a new home for their whopping 300 acres of natural landscape, the architects could have created a massive structure. Instead, the design team, inspired by the local vernacular, chose to implement a modern take on a simple shed. The 500-square-foot Nulla Vale House and adjacent shed, both of which are 100 percent off-grid , were designed to foster a strong harmony with nature. Located in Victoria, Australia, the home is set on an idyllic and rather remote area of untouched landscape. When the architects were contacted by the clients, the main request was that they design a structure that could be incorporated into another “more permanent home” that may be built on the same site in the future. Other than that, the clients also requested something that would stand out among the landscape from a distance. While exploring the area, the architects saw a lot of old sheds tucked into the rolling hills and decided to use these traditional forms as inspiration for the new home. “Nostalgia for this connection between land and building was the guiding principle for the Nulla Vale House and Shed,” the team explained. Related: Off-grid rainforest cabin built from scratch has minimal site impact The home and the adjacent shed are 100 percent off the grid and installed with water, sewer and electrical systems that not only support the existing buildings, but are capable of supporting any future buildings as well. The shed, which is covered with solar panels , is used for storage and houses the main PV battery. In addition to its energy efficiency, various recycled or repurposed materials such as salvaged brick were used in the home’s construction. Radial sawn timber was used to frame the home, which was then topped with a roof made from galvanized sheeting. The roof’s deep eaves shield the interior from the hot summer sun and optimize solar gains in the winter as part of a passive, energy-efficient strategy. The rustic aesthetic of the exterior continues throughout the interior living space. The salvaged brick walls were left unfinished, and wooden beams run the length of the vaulted ceiling. Even the insulation in the ceiling was left intentionally exposed in order to reflect the light from the concealed LED fixtures , which were installed in the beams. The main living room and small kitchen sit at the heart of the home. Farther back, there is a simple bedroom and bathroom. Throughout the space, there are various windows that flood the home with natural light. + MRTN Architects Via Dwell Photography by Peter Bennetts via MRTN Architects

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A tiny, rustic, off-grid cabin sits on vast 300 acres in Australia

LEED Silver museum’s shimmering, iridescent facade evokes flames in Kansas

October 2, 2018 by  
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When Boston-based architecture practice Verner Johnson was tapped to design the $17.3 million Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, Kansas, it saw an opportunity to push back against the area’s new suburban sprawl with a site-specific project. Drawing from the region’s landscape history and their experience with museum design, the architects crafted a building that brings the prairie fires of the American Great Plains to life with a striking flame-inspired facade made with dichroic glass. The composite glass also doubles as insulation, which aided the energy-efficient museum in achieving LEED Silver status. Opened in May 2014, the Museum at Prairiefire was created through a collaborative effort with the American Museum of Natural History. The stunning building houses exhibitions on topics of natural science and history in three primary locations — The Great Hall, The Discovery Room and the American Museum of Natural History Exhibition Gallery — in a total area of 41,500 square feet. The museum design references the prairie landscape and prairie fires through the selection of materials. Five types of locally sourced Kansas limestone were used as cladding to evoke striated rock formations. The cladding was applied to the building wings that were contoured to mimic the shape of rolling hills. To allude to fire, the architects used Light Interference Color (LIC) stainless steel metal panels and insulated dichroic glass developed exclusively for the project to create a striking curtain wall for the museum lobby. At different angles and times of day, the dichroic glass appears to change color from blue to gold, flickering like flames. Related: Energy-savvy art museum is anchored atop a historic Dutch dike “The project’s LEED Silver Certification attests to its environmentally sound design and construction practices, echoing the architectural concept rooted in sustainability — the preservation of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem,” the architects said. “This design does not accept and conform to the shortcomings of suburban sprawl. It defines the environment’s unique identity, forges emotional connections between the people and the place and allows the suburb to become a proud, independent and sustainable community.” + Verner Johnson Via ArchDaily Exterior images via David Arbogast, interior images via Michael Robinson

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Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

September 14, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based architecture studio SuperLimão and architect Gabriela Coelho recently completed GSC, a massive multi-use collector’s gallery built from shipping containers and other metal materials. Located in a lush area of São Paulo, the spacious complex also contains an office, a gym, a small workshop, a kennel and additional gallery space for the client’s other prized items. The industrial character of the cargotecture project was softened with the addition of turf and potted plants, while passive solar techniques were employed to maximize energy efficiency. Covering an area of nearly 19,400 square feet, the GSC is a multilevel project that houses the garage on the ground floor and uses a series of reused shipping containers stacked on top to form the upper level. Rather than place all the containers side by side in a row, the architects strategically arranged the 10 containers to promote natural ventilation, lighting and sight lines between the different areas. The interstitial spaces between containers were converted into green space with seating and timber decking. The roofs of the containers were also landscaped with rows and rows of potted plants. “One characteristic that differentiates our project from the usual container projects that we are used to seeing is that this particular project is totally adapted to our climate while utilizing the maximum passive techniques of form to maximize energy efficiency and take advantage of reusable materials from the container itself,” the architects explained. “All of the spaces have windows on three different levels. They not only allow for ventilation , but they also perform at an optimal level on days without wind. The exterior walls are finished in a ceramic paint and work in conjunction with the roof covered in foliage to thermally regulate the internal environment thus reducing the use of air-conditioning equipment.” Air conditioning is only used during the hottest parts of summer. Related: 13 shipping containers are reborn as a new restaurant on Treasure Island The interiors of the containers were renovated to house a variety of rooms, yet the look of the original walls and doors was preserved to reference the building material’s history. Full-height glazing creates a sense of permeability that continues throughout the structure. Outside, rainwater is collected in a large cistern and reused. + SuperLimão Via ArchDaily Images by Maíra Acayaba

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Shipping containers become a spectacular plant-covered gallery

A modern farmhouse in South Africa blends style with sustainability

September 6, 2018 by  
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Strey Architects is bringing a contemporary style to the countryside with its recent project, Link House. The home, which features a plethora of sustainable design elements, showcases simple living at its finest by meshing luxury and minimalism . Features ranging from design for natural ventilation to solar heating and rainwater collection tanks meld seamlessly into the gorgeous modern farmhouse. In designing Link House, Strey Architects was tasked with building a farmhouse that was both aesthetically attractive and humble. The result is a beautiful countryside home that features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a formal dining room, a lounge, a pool and a large playroom — all in a sustainable design . The house, which takes on a U-shape, also includes a large deck out front, an open kitchen and a garden. According to the architects, the house was designed with two wings and positioned to take advantage of the seasons. During the hotter months, the west wing blocks the sun and acts as a privacy screen. When winter comes, the northern and southern wings allow more sunlight inside the house for optimal heating conditions. The house also features fold-away doors and top-notch ventilation, which eliminates the need for a traditional HVAC system. Even the building blocks for the Link House were made from sustainable materials. The foundation is built from recycled plastic and is designed to air out dangerous radon gas. The walls and ceilings feature board insulation to properly protect the outer brick siding. Inside, the floors are crafted from recycled teak parquet. The stunning modern farmhouse wouldn’t be complete without a rainwater catchment system and solar water heating throughout the residence, making it completely sustainable throughout the year. Although the Link House is sustainable, Strey Architects did not sacrifice anything on design and aesthetics. The end result is a home that will fit in just about any location and fully comply with building regulations while remaining stylish and green . + Strey Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Dook / Strey Architects

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Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals

September 6, 2018 by  
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While most Airstream renovations tend to go for a minimalist aesthetic to create the illusion of more space, surface pattern designer  Bonnie Christine used her love of florals to convert her 1962 Airstream trailer into a gorgeous home on wheels. To transform the formerly drab interior, Bonnie lined various accent walls in wallpaper with a forest green background and light pink flowers to add a fresh and vibrant flair to the incredibly compact 150-square-foot tiny home. Bonnie and her husband bought the 1962 Airstream Overlander in order to take their family of four on the road. However, the interior was in dire need of a makeover before they could set out on their travels. To completely revamp the living space , the talented surface pattern and fabric designer used her artistic skills to create a fresh new aesthetic. Related: Couple restores an old Airstream into a chic tiny home on wheels Renamed “Marjorie” after the original owner, the project is an example of an Airstream renovation done right. Bonnie began Marjorie’s makeover in the kitchen, where she stained and rebuilt the cabinets before painting them in a soothing green tone. Using this earthy moss color as a starting point, the space then needed a little extra vibrancy, which came in the form of the “Pimpernel” wallpaper by William Morris. Bonnie says that although the floral wallpaper was a bold decision, it was also an easy one. “As a surface pattern designer, I also wanted to give a nod to the father of surface design himself by using a William Morris wallpaper,” Bonnie explained in an interview with Design*Sponge . “I find it endlessly inspiring!” The rest of the tiny home is equally as inspiring, with a fresh decor that brightens up every corner of the compact living space. A small dinette set was kept in neutral colors to contrast the floral wallpaper, and the kitchen uses shelving and storage to avoid clutter. Even the home’s itsy-bitsy bathroom gives off a spa-like feel. To complete the ethereal atmosphere, the entire living space is flooded with natural light . The family has clocked several thousand miles since the renovation, traveling from North Carolina to the Grand Canyon in their shiny Airstream, with many stops in between. Bonnie explained that traveling in a tiny home has opened up a world of adventure for the family. “I am most thankful for what this tiny home represents — the ability for our family to be completely mobile,” Bonnie said. “We can go for a small weekend trip, or set out on a cross-country adventure with our home right along with us. There’s nothing more grand than seeing the wonders of nature and the great outdoors through our children’s eyes!” + Bonnie Christine Via Design*Sponge Photography by Bonnie Christine

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Artist revamps dingy interior of a 1962 Airstream with vibrant florals

Massive green-roofed home in Brazil features a series of ramps

August 29, 2018 by  
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São Paulo-based Una Arquitetos has completed a massive home in the municipality of Cotia that unites its various volumes beneath a lushly planted green roof. Named the House in Cotia, the modern home is set on a 2,600-square-meter property near the woods and takes advantage of its private setting with glass curtain walls throughout. The home is built predominately of concrete, metal and glass, yet the interiors are fitted with natural materials for a sense of warmth. Set on a challenging slope, the home covers an area of 730 square meters split into three volumes and four floors that are navigated with a series of stairs and ramps. Parts of the home are elevated on concrete pillars while others are embedded into the ground. Indoor-outdoor living is celebrated throughout the home. For starters, the 45-meter-long green roof is fully accessible. Moreover, the architects also designed several outdoor courtyards that enjoy seamless transitions to the interior with large sliding glass doors and wine-red floor tiles used in both the interior and exterior. “The construction, in section, accommodates smoothly to the geography of São Paulo’s sloped grounds. Four levels built from three parallel walls organize the landscape,” note the architects. “The development, in plan, allows an integration between interior and exterior spaces, which alternate and fold being complemented with water, fire and vegetation. In addition to the green roof and lush surroundings, the firm also added an outdoor fire pit and two main water features: a swimming pool and a river-like channel that snakes through the property. Related: This modern solar-powered retreat is topped with a massive green roof The home is entered from the lowest level in a shaded area beneath the elevated volume housing the bedrooms. That volume is accessible via a ramped corridor that connects to the open-plan living area, dining area and kitchen. The home also offers a music room and a lounge. + Una Arquitetos Via Dezeen Images by Nelson Kon

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