Weathered-steel home near Palm Springs is the epitome of desert chic

March 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Los Angeles-based EYRC Architects has tucked an undeniably chic home into a remote corner of the Californian desert. The Ridge Mountain House is a concrete and weathered steel dwelling specifically designed to sit in harmony with its breathtaking setting. In addition to running on solar power, the project also uses several passive features to reduce the home’s energy use. Located on a hillside with the protected Agua Caliente Indian lands to the west and the Coachella valley to the east, the Ridge Mountain House provides the homeowners with a seamless connection to the stunning wilderness that surrounds the lot. Related: Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’ Although the building site was perfect for what the family had in mind, the rough terrain presented its fair share of challenges for the architects. The craggy topography meant that the two-story home had to be embedded deep into the hill using two large cast-in-place concrete volumes that make up the ground floor. The second floor was clad in a rusted steel rainscreen that blends in nicely with the rugged colors of the desert landscape. “The site is unique and majestic,” said Steven Ehrlich, founder of EYRC. “The house is close to civilization yet feels remote and private. Building on such a craggy site was complicated, but our contractors performed a feat of engineering. The pool and casita were built first, because they are on the downside edge of the ravine.” The project features two separate structures: the main home and a small casita, both connected by a wooden deck. This outdoor space, complete with an infinity pool and a hot tub, allows the family to enjoy much of their lives outdoors, dining al fresco, stargazing, entertaining or simply taking in the expansive views. The deck leads directly into the home’s great room via sliding glass doors. The rest of the interior spaces, with 12-foot ceilings, are flooded with natural light thanks to the sliding doors as well as an abundance of windows. Flooring made of gray concrete and burnished plaster and wax walls give the main living spaces a natural feel. In fact, there was no paint used in the house whatsoever. The Ridge Mountain House runs on clean energy . Rooftop photovoltaic panels generate enough power for the home, while natural cross ventilation and passive cooling techniques further reduce energy use. During the construction period, the architects and homeowners insisted on minimal landscaping, using only native desert plants. + EYRC Architects Via Wallpaper* Images via EYRC Architects

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Weathered-steel home near Palm Springs is the epitome of desert chic

Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

March 27, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Mumbai-based firm  Sanjay Puri Architects  has just completed work on a beautiful hotel in northern India known for wine production. Built on a base of locally-sourced natural stone, the Aria Hotel is a stunning design carefully stacked onto the landscape that boasts several passive and active features to make it incredibly  energy efficient . Located in the ancient city of Nashik in the northern Indian region of Maharashtra, the  beautiful hotel  is located right on the banks of the Godavari River. The idyllic location includes the river on one side and rising hills on the other, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature. Related: Rundown lodge near the Nile River is now a solar-powered eco-resort According to the architects, no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography. Stacked multiple levels high, the hotel is built on a base of locally-sourced natural black basalt stone . The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout the suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light  thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, further reducing the hotel’s energy usage. The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs thanks to a rooftop solar array . In addition to its clean energy generation, the hotel was installed with a rainwater collection system that provides water for irrigation. All of the luxury units boast large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and  minimize heat gain  throughout the interior spaces. + Sanjay Puri Architects Via v2com Photography by Dinesh Mehta and Sanjay Puri

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Solar powered hotel opens in Indian wine-growing region

Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

March 26, 2020 by  
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Known for their love of infusing modern structures with an abundance of greenery, the prolific Paris-based practice  Vincent Callebaut Architectures has just unveiled their latest sustainable design. Slated for the Island of Cebu, The Rainbow Tree is a modular timber tower draped in layers of lush vegetation to become an “urban forest” for the city. Thanks to the design’s strong sustainability features, which include passive bioclimatism and advanced renewable energies, the tower will be a  LEED Gold design . Slated to be a sustainable icon for the fairly remote island of Cebu, the Rainbow Tree will be a 32-story, 377-foot-high tower built almost completely out of solid wood. The building’s volume will be comprised of 1,200  CLT modules , inspired by the local Nipa Huts made out of wood, bamboo and palm leaves traditionally found throughout the Philippines. Related: Vincent Callebaut wins bid to sustainably revive Aix-les-Bains’ ancient thermal baths All of the modules, which come with basket-style balconies, will be prefabricated off-site in a factory to reduce energy and construction costs. Once on-site, the innovative design will be implemented with several passive bioclimatic features and advanced  renewable energies . To save energy, the tower will be double insulated thanks to an interior and exterior cladding made of all-natural materials such as thatch, hemp and cellulose wadding. The tower’s name and design were inspired by the Rainbow Eucalyptus, an iconic and colorful tree native to the Philippines. To bring the nature-inspired design to fruition, the  timber building  will be clad in vegetation native to the island. Using plants sustainably-sourced from local tropical forests, the tower will be covered in more than 30,000 plants, shrubs and tropical trees. Many of the plants will change color through the season, giving the city a living “rainbow” throughout the year. The Rainbow Tree will be a mixed-use property, split between office space and luxury condominiums. Interior spaces will be flooded with natural light and include several vertical walls. Guests and residents to the tower will be able to enjoy the building’s eateries, swimming pool and fitness center. Adding to the building’s amazing sustainability profile, residents will also have access to an expansive  aquaponic farm  that will span over three levels. Combining fish farming and plant cultivation, the Sky Farm is slated to produce up to 25,000 kilos of fruit, vegetables and algae and 2,500 kilos of fish per year — the equivalent to almost 2 kilos of food per week for each family residing in the tower. + Vincent Callebaut Architecture Images via Vincent Callebaut Architecture

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Vincent Callebaut unveils bioclimatic LEED-Gold timber tower

Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

March 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

In summer 2019, a surprising sight popped up on a New Hampshire lake — ICEBERG, a floating, iceberg-shaped pavilion made of locally sourced wood and recycled plastic. Created to raise awareness on the issue of polar ice melt, the temporary installation was the work of  Bulot+Collins , an international architecture firm that guided over a hundred Beam Campers to build the project on-site. The environmental installation also doubled as a play space with a resting area for sunbathing and a staircase that leads to a diving platform.  ICEBERG was designed and built for  Beam Camp , a summer camp in Strafford, New Hampshire that teaches campers hands-on skills and creative thinking through large-scale collaborative projects selected through an annual worldwide design competition. In 2019, Bulot+Collins’ ICEBERG project was chosen and built in three weeks by 104 campers between the ages of 10 to 17.  Located in the middle of Willy Pond, the 700-square-foot ICEBERG pavilion features a slanted wood frame buoyed by a series of empty barrels. The structure is covered in locally sourced plywood panels clad in recycled HDPE tiles manufactured on-site by the campers with a process exclusively developed by the architects for the project. Recycled plastic was melted and molded into triangular shapes and then covered in a mix of resin and thermochromic paint to simulate the appearance of a melting iceberg : the hundreds of tiles turn from different shades of blue in the cold to a polar white in the heat.  Related: ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C. In addition to its striking visual appearance, ICEBERG served as a play space with a sunbathing area and a 10-foot-tall diving platform. “As architects accustomed to working in an environment where the designer, the client and the users are often three distinct parties, we were stimulated to have the future users play an active role in the building process of the project,” note the architects. “This blurring of boundaries familiarized campers with the subtle implications of building a space, and allowed them to evolve in a structure that they constructed with their own hands.” + Bulot+Collins Images via Bulot+Collins

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Floating ICEBERG creatively confronts global warming

Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

March 25, 2020 by  
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Formentera-based  Marià Castelló Architecture  has become known for creating incredible homes that deftly combine contemporary design with nature-based inspiration. The firm’s latest project is the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer, a family home that was partially built deep underground into the rocky terrain to use the landscape as natural insulation to  reduce its energy usage . Local architects have used the natural beauty of Spain’s Balearic islands as inspiration in their  home designs  for years. In addition to the spectacular scenery, the island’s Mediterranean climate allows designers to use several passive features to create energy-efficient buildings that blend into the natural landscape. Related: This earth-sheltered Australian hobbit home stays cozy all year Located in the beach town of Migjorn, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer was built on a rocky landscape overlooking the expansive coastal views. Although the terrain would be normally considered a challenge for any type of construction, the team from Marià Castelló Architects used the rocky topography to their advantage, “burying” part of the home deep underground. The underground floor of the home was created by digging an elongated cavity reminiscent of a stone quarry. The shape of the tunneled space is horizontal, which was strategic in providing a base to create several transversal walkways and hovering patios on the upper floors of the design. Walking up from the underground level, the home design features several indoor/outdoor spaces lined by  natural rock  as the main walkway leads up to the home’s main courtyard. The upper levels of the home, which sit perpendicular to its underground base, are comprised of three light modules in cubical volumes. These bright white cubes with large glass facades give the home an undeniable contemporary feel, but once inside the  light-filled space , an array of natural features speak to the home’s incredible setting. Throughout the open-plan living space, there are walls of sculpted rock, locally-sourced limestone, pine and fir wooden elements, recycled cotton panels and several more  natural materials.  Even the rocky gravel was saved from the excavation process to be repurposed into the outdoor spaces around the home. Using the landscape also allowed the home’s design to take advantage of several  bioclimatic passive systems that not only insulate the home, but add substantially to its energy efficiency. Additionally, the Bosc d’en Pep Ferrer is equipped with an integral rainwater collection system that reroutes, collects and filters rainwater for reuse. +  Marià Castelló Architecture Images via Marià Castelló

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Stunning home on Spanish island built partially underground

Border wall could end jaguar recovery

March 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Department of Homeland Security announced last week that it will waive many public health and environmental laws to fast-track border wall construction in remote, mountainous areas of California, Texas and Arizona. The new sections of the border wall will block the remaining corridors that connect jaguars from the U.S. to Sonora, Mexico. The wall will also harm more than 90 other threatened and endangered species . “The new border walls will mean the end of jaguar recovery in the United States,” Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said . “This tragedy’s all the more heartbreaking because walling off these beautiful wildlands is completely unnecessary and futile. It has nothing to do with border security and everything to do to with Trump’s racist campaign promise.” Related: $87M wildlife bridge in California will be a haven for mountain lions Jaguars are shy animals that mostly move around at night over highland trails. Conservationists worry that blocking border access will halt the jaguars’ ability to repopulate the Peloncillo Mountains east of Douglas, Arizona and that jaguars fleeing human encroachment in northern Mexico will have nowhere to go. Other threatened, endangered and rare species that call the border region home include the lesser long-nosed bat, Sonoran pronghorn, Mexican gray wolf, ocelot and the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl. The more than 650 miles of barriers currently blocking the border disrupt animal migration, cause flooding and decimate these animals’ fragile ecosystems . Jaguars are found from the southwestern U.S. down to south-central Argentina. This mammal is the most powerful and largest cat in the western hemisphere and one of four big cats of the Panthera genus. The other three are lions, leopards and tigers . “Jaguars are a key part of the stunningly diverse web of life in the borderlands that will fall apart if these walls are built,” Serraglio said. “The crisis of runaway extinction is devastating wildlife and wild places all over our planet. Trump’s border wall is pouring gas on that fire, and we’ll continue to fight it every step of the way.” The Center for Biological Diversity has helped launch a campaign to oppose the border wall. Individuals can sign the nonprofit conservation organization’s pledge to oppose the wall here . + Center for Biological Diversity Images via Center for Biological Diversity and Pixabay

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Border wall could end jaguar recovery

Luxury resort in Bali pays homage to traditional village design

March 25, 2020 by  
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Already well-known for creating large-scale public works like eco-parks and museums, Dutch architectural practice OMA has added yet another stunning project to its impressive portfolio — a luxury resort in Seminyak, Bali. According to the architects, the inspiration behind the Desa Potato Head resort is the area’s traditional villages, and the resort’s layout recalls this through the use of traditional Balinese building techniques and reclaimed materials . Located on the beach, the beautiful eco-resort is unique in that it is not designed to be another luxurious but impersonal getaway, where tourists just lounge for hours, sipping on mixed drinks in the warm sunshine. Rather, the resort’s design is an architectural attempt to connect visitors to the local community’s traditions. Related: Reclaimed materials star in this surf villa with ocean views in Bali “The essence of Bali lies in the interaction between different cultures,” architect and OMA partner David Gianotten explained. “Our design for the Potato Head Studios offers both private guest rooms and facilities, and public spaces, to encourage exchange between different kinds of users, challenging the ubiquitous Balinese resort typology that paradoxically emphasizes hotel guests’ exclusive enjoyment, detached from the life of the local community.” As part of that strategy, the architects incorporated several traditional building techniques and materials into the resort’s construction. For example, the building’s elevated layout was inspired by the raised courtyards typically found throughout Indonesia. Made up of three large volumes, the complex is lifted off the ground by a series of thin columns. Guests can enjoy the spacious common areas that lead out to the beach or to the rooms via corridors of handmade breeze block walls that cast light and shadows in geometric patterns. Often used for celebrations and cultural events, this indoor/outdoor space is covered with extensive native vegetation , which creates a strong connection to Mother Nature. To take in the incredible views, guests can also make their way up to the massive rooftop terrace, which provides stunning, 360-degree views. With most of the work done by local craftsmen, much of the hotel consists of either recycled or reclaimed building materials. The cladding of the spacious courtyards and zigzagging walkways is comprised of cement casing and reclaimed wood boards. Additionally, local artisans handcrafted the resort’s woven ceilings from recycled plastic bottles . The private suites feature terrazzo flooring made from waste concrete. Decorations throughout the spaces include wood furnishings and artworks from various local artists. + Desa Potato Head + OMA Via Design Milk Photography by Kevin Mak via OMA

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Luxury resort in Bali pays homage to traditional village design

Run away to this 100% off-grid desert retreat

March 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

In a world of exotic areas to go off-grid, sometimes the most exquisite locations can be found in your own back yard. Located just north of Pioneertown, California, the  Whisper Rock Ranch  is surrounded by 20 acres of vast desert landscape. The retreat, which is  100% off-grid , offers guests the opportunity to reconnect with nature while enjoying the small luxuries of life, such as a wrap-around deck with pool and jacuzzi, all perfect for enjoying days of spectacular sunsets and brilliant stargazing. Surrounded by ancient juniper and desert oak trees, the compact ranch is the brainchild of Rich Cook and Rezeta Veliu, who visited the site years ago when the only building on the land was a run-down home. Instantly falling in love with the spectacular desert landscape, they set out to create a remote retreat  where guests can truly get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Related: Cool homestead retreat with vintage trailer brings glamping to Mojave desert During the construction of the ranch, the pair used the untouched nature as inspiration to create a soothing, self-sustaining retreat. As a result, Whisper Rock is completely off-grid, running on  solar energy,  propane and water deliveries. “Since we’re completely off grid we operate off of hauled water, so we have three 1,800 gallon tanks that get filled up every other week. But for those same reasons, people off the grid don’t really have pools because they’re hard to maintain, but we did it anyway,” explained Cook. Additionally, the layout and construction of the retreat use various  passive features  such as natural light and shading techniques to reduce its energy use. “We went for as many windows as we could because the surroundings are so beautiful. And what we did was try to maximize the amount of light and glass; we pushed it basically as far as we could push it without allowing the house to fall down,” Cook added. Indeed, the structure’s  abundance of windows  is what connects the ranch to its incredible setting. Large floor-to-ceiling windows line the walls, while massive chunks of natural boulders jut into the living spaces. Additionally, the interior spaces open up to a wrap-around wooden deck. At the heart of the design are lounge areas where most guests spend their time taking in the 360-degree view from the swimming pool or jacuzzi. + Whisper Rock Ranch Via Dwell Images via Whisper Rock Ranch

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Run away to this 100% off-grid desert retreat

Adidas unveils lightweight hiking shoe made from ocean plastic

March 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Long-distance hiking never looked so comfortable thanks to Adidas’ new shoes made especially for adventure. The Terrex Free Hiker Parley shoes are constructed using a sustainable combination of the company’s Boost technology and Parley for the Oceans’ recycled plastic material. The shoes will form to the shape of the wearer’s feet while providing a sleek look to match almost every style. This is the first in Adidas’ Terrex Free Hiker collection to incorporate Parley Ocean Plastic yarn, which is made from upcycled plastic waste collected from coastal areas. Adidas is a founding member of Parley for the Oceans, a global network that helps raise awareness for the oceans by collaborating among mindful brands and environmental groups. Related: New line of men’s swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic Adidas’ Boost technology offers energy-return cushioning, even on rocky surfaces, and the mid-cut profile with a rubber outsole provides an adaptable grip on every type of terrain. The company’s signature Primeknit fabric makes the shoes water-repellent, lightweight and form-fitting to hug all the right spots of your feet (almost like a sock). Don’t let the breathable material fool you — these kicks are just as equipped for comfortable, long-distance hiking as they are for normal, everyday wear. This allows consumers to go from the rugged outdoors to the city sidewalks and urban settings to natural landscapes without missing a beat. “We believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives, and our latest shoe in the Terrex collection does just that,” said Tim Janaway, general manager of Adidas Outdoor. “The Terrex Free Hiker Parley represents both sustainability and performance, empowering you to get outside and challenge yourself, without challenging the environment .” The men’s and women’s designs weigh just 400 grams and 340 grams, respectively, and will retail for $200. All of Adidas’ Parley products are made using a yarn material spun from discarded plastic pollution collected from coastal areas, such as the Maldives, by beach cleanups run by partner organizations. + Adidas Images via Adidas

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Adidas unveils lightweight hiking shoe made from ocean plastic

Offshore oil platforms are reimagined as self-sustaining homes

March 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

As the world looks for sustainable housing solutions to meet the needs of a burgeoning population, Paris-based design firm XTU Architects has unveiled a conceptual design that would convert old oil platforms into plant-covered homes of the future. The project, X_Lands, would not only provide self-sustaining homes to families but would also transform a global symbol of pollution into a beacon of sustainability. In a perfect future world where we have once and for all put an end to oil drilling, the planet’s ocean will be still brimming with large, useless oil platforms that have reached the end of their lifecycles. In a fantastical glimpse into the future, the innovative designers of XTU Architects have reimagined these old beasts as self-sustaining homes . Related: Oil rig off South Korea’s coast to become a floating hotel that operates on tidal energy Although the concept may seem a bit whimsical at first, the need to create new housing solutions is weighing on countries around the world as the global population continues to grow. Creating affordable, green housing is of the utmost importance to create a more sustainable world using what is already in existence. The inoperative offshore oil platforms could potentially provide a very feasible solution, or as the designers put it, “a sustainable path for tomorrow,” to solve the impending housing crisis while also addressing climate change. Massive in scale, the floating structures could easily be adapted to fit a variety of housing needs. Specifically, the X_Lands concept envisions bubble-like housing units covered with lush greenery that provides a natural, healthy atmosphere for residents. The futuristic housing units would be equipped to generate their own clean energy via solar and wind power, creating completely self-sufficient, water-based communities. Additionally, the homes would provide gardening space for residents to grow their own food. + XTU Architects Images via XTU Architects

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Offshore oil platforms are reimagined as self-sustaining homes

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