A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

October 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Urban farming can be tough, especially when it’s in the middle of the densely packed Belgian city of Mechelen. But thanks to the determination of a client “with green fingers” and the clever design thinking of Belgian architecture firm dmvA , a solution was conceived in House TP, a renovation project with a new greenhouse in the rear. In addition to space for growing greens, the transformed property also enjoys greater access to natural light and views of the outdoors. Located next to a church, the compact, 90-square-meter home is sandwiched between two buildings with a north-oriented rear side. To improve access to sunlight, the architects removed the back of the building save for a single steel beam that inspired the firm to insert extra beams to create a base for a “floating” greenhouse , which allows natural light to pass through to the patio space below. In contrast to the mostly closed front facade, large glazed openings were also added to the back of the building to frame views of the greenhouse from the second and third floors. Since the top floor enjoys the greatest access to natural light , the architects decided to place the primary living areas on the third floor while placing the bedroom downstairs. The ground floor houses an additional living space that can be converted into a bedroom. The removal of walls and an open-plan layout make the compact home feel larger than its footprint lets on. The stairs were also strategically placed to the side of the building to avoid blocking sight lines. Related: An urban farm and restaurant flourishes in Utrecht’s “circular” pavilion In contrast to its redbrick neighbors, the building exterior is painted a bright white. Another major exterior change includes the addition of a gate with steel blinds installed at an angle of 45 degrees. “This kind of gate provides sufficient privacy but still gives an open, light impression,” reads the firm’s project statement. “Previously, the dark corner at the gate was a problematic spot in the street, but with the intervention of dmvA, it has become a fresh corner that revives the street. dmvA not only created a house that met the wishes of the owner, but the refurbishment also led to a revival of the street.” + dmvA Via ArchDaily Images by Bart Gosselin

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A floating greenhouse is inserted behind a renovated Belgian home

A crimson red home is tucked into a dark green forest in Portugal

October 22, 2018 by  
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Lisbon-based architect Luis Rebelo de Andrade is world renowned for his Tree Snake Houses in Portugal’s Pedras Salgadas Park, but now the prolific architect has unveiled another eye-catching design. Located in an expansive green forest in Portugal, House 3000 is gable-roofed family home clad in a bright crimson red that can be seen for miles. According to the architect, his vision for the home was inspired by the building site itself, a heavily wooded area in Herdade da Considerad. Thousands of cork oaks and umbrella pines form an expansive, maze-like landscape. To create harmony with this pristine environment, de Andrade went with pure, unbridled contrast with a bold landmark among the greenery. Related: Charming Tree Snake Houses stand on stilts at Portugal’s Pedras Salgadas eco-resort The architect explained, “In the absence of geodesic markers — which nature did not offer Herdade da Considerada — it is architecture that takes the place of the reference points that from time immemorial has guided man, complementing the landscape with a building that is overwhelmingly visible.” The volume of the home is a simple design with an elongated form following the gabled roof’s direction. Sharp lines and simple doors and windows make the home reminiscent of a child’s drawing. Behind the striking design, there are quite a few sustainable features, such as the solar array just steps away from the home. Solar power , along with a thermal sensing system, allow the home to produce more energy than it uses. The home’s bright tone changes quite dramatically on the interior. The living space is clad in light panels of warm wood with muted highlights. Decorated with minimal furnishings throughout the living area and bedrooms, the interior is light and airy. Earthy, woven textiles give off hints of color, but the overall interior design aesthetic is soothing in its simplicity. + Luis Rebelo de Andrade Via Dwell Photography by Carlos Cezanne via Luis Rebelo de Andrade

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A crimson red home is tucked into a dark green forest in Portugal

A recycled brick wall runs through this breezy home in Australia

October 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Bright, breezy and surrounded by nature, the Cedar Lane House is a place of peaceful respite on the southern coast of Australia. Sydney-based architect and photographer Edward Birch designed the light-filled residence at the base of a mountain in Meroo Meadow. Spread out across 280 square meters, the linear home is anchored by a recycled brick wall that runs the length of the building and imbues the interior with warmth and softness. The Cedar Lane House is organized into three pavilion-like spaces linked by a central east-west hallway. While indoor-outdoor living is celebrated with ample glazing and a natural materials palette, the views are deliberately obscured from the entrance to create an element of surprise when visitors turn the corner and see spectacular landscape vistas through the living room’s walls of glass. In addition to the whitewashed recycled brick wall, the home interiors are dressed in Australian hardwood, white surfaces and other minimalist materials to keep the focus on the outdoors. The open-plan living spaces — including a living room, dining area and kitchen — occupy the heart of the home and branch off to an outdoor terrace and an indoor lounge on either side. The easternmost side of the home is defined by a master en suite with an outdoor shower and a spa. Three additional bedrooms, a rumpus room and an outdoor courtyard are located on the west side. The arrangement of spaces makes it easy for the homeowner to close off portions of the house depending on the number of people staying. Instead of main water connections, the house relies on recycled rainwater , which is collected in underground tanks and re-circulated around the building. Related: Passive solar home stays naturally cool without AC in Australia “From the recycled bricks, rough oak floor to the zinc bench top in the kitchen, the internal materials are intended to be imperfect, to mark and scratch and to tell the story of the lives lived inside the house,” Birch said in a project statement. “As the timber cladding silvers and the wash on the bricks get eroded away, the house ages gracefully and settles into the landscape around it.” + Edward Birch Via ArchDaily Images by Edward Birch

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A recycled brick wall runs through this breezy home in Australia

The adorable Acorn tiny cabin is made of wood salvaged from an old mansion

October 19, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen a lot of tiny homes over the years, but the Acorn has to be one the most adorable designs we’ve ever come across. Created by the team from Ojai-based Humble Hand Craft, the sweet tiny home on wheels is built from reclaimed wood and felled trees, including the western cedar shingles that were salvaged from a mansion in Montecito, California. At just 16 feet long and 8.5 feet wide, the Acorn is one seriously tiny home on wheels, but its strategic and space-efficient layout makes the interior seem much bigger. Built on a trailer of the same dimensions, the Acorn takes us back to the basics of traditional cabin design with its warm facade of cedar shingles, a corrugated metal roof and a welcoming front porch. Related: This charming, solar-powered tiny home is handcrafted from reclaimed wood According to the builders at Humble Hand Craft, like most of their cabins, the Acorn was made out of wood salvaged from various sources. The Western Red Cedar shingles used to clad the small structure were reclaimed from an old mansion in California. The porch posts were made out of a dead tree that had fallen near one of the builder’s favorite hiking trails in Ojai. Much of the cabin’s interior, such as the trim and the front door, were made out of reclaimed redwood salvaged from a 5,000-gallon wine barrel found at a vineyard in Santa Cruz. The all-wooden interior creates a homey living space, enhanced with an abundance of natural light . A space-efficient layout was essential in designing the interior. To create more living space on the ground floor, a sleeping loft was installed on a platform. The living room, which is big enough for a small sofa and table, is kept warm and cozy thanks to the small wood-burning fireplace. The kitchen features a beautiful redwood countertop finished with a natural bio resin as well as plenty of storage and shelving to avoid clutter. + Humble Hand Craft Photography by Luke Williams via Humble Hand Craft

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The adorable Acorn tiny cabin is made of wood salvaged from an old mansion

Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park

October 19, 2018 by  
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In a bid to save the historic Gamla Lidingöbron bridge in Stockholm from demolition, Swedish studio Urban Nouveau has proposed transforming the structure into 50 luxury apartments topped with a High Line -inspired linear park. Created as part of a petition to protest the tearing down of the structure, the design aims to spark greater dialogue and media attention in hopes of galvanizing support for the bridge’s preservation. The design practice has also proposed using the sale of apartments to fund the restoration process. Built in the 1920s, the Gamla Lidingöbron bridge has served as a rail and pedestrian connector between Stockholm and the island of Lidingö. The City Council of Lidingö has announced plans to demolish the bridge in 2022 and thus far rejected Urban Nouveau’s proposal to repurpose the historic bridge on the grounds of potential “risks and delays.” The studio has launched a petition to counter the decision with the backing of the project’s master structural engineers Adão da Fonseca and Cecil Balmond who say the project is “both structurally sound and entirely feasible.” “Our architectural understanding of the bridge has inspired us to come up with a plan for saving Gamla Lidingöbron that not only creates a striking public park but in the process also saves the government a minimum of 113 million crowns (€11m),” said Urban Nouveau chief executive Sara Göransson. “We believe demolishing a landmark bridge like this is truly a backward step, particularly when we have a fully costed and technically sound alternative that means we can save the bridge and provide a beautiful park for the whole of Stockholm.” Related: Spectacular town hall doubles as a bridge in Denmark’s Faroe Islands In the  adaptive reuse proposal, the bridge could experience new life as a residential complex of 50 apartments embedded within the steel structure, while the bridge deck would be converted into a linear park with tram and bicycle access. Each apartment would be equipped with a private elevator and staircase for access. The west-facing apartments would feature double-height living spaces and glazed facades on either side to frame sweeping views of the water. + Urban Nouveau Via ArchDaily Images by Urban Nouveau

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Urban Nouveau proposes to turn a historic Stockholm bridge into housing and a park

An experimental greenhouse pops up at a busy Copenhagen intersection

October 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A surprising and experimental pocket of nature has popped up in the middle of a heavily trafficked intersection in Copenhagen , Denmark. Danish architect Simon Hjermind Jensen of SHJWorks recently unveiled “Biotope,” a sculptural pavilion that houses a microcosm of plants and insects. Sixty different seeds have been sown into the soil, and a beehive has been attached inside the installation to foster a thriving and evolving ecosystem of activity for the enjoyment of passersby. Created in the likeness of a primitive organism or bacteria, Biotope comprises a translucent shell made from a 4-millimeter-thick polycarbonate membrane that is set in a curved concrete bowl with a rim thick enough to double as bench seating. The installation measures 7 meters in length, 4 meters in width and 3 meters in height at its tallest point. The bowl collects rainwater and directs the water through the small holes in the polycarbonate membrane toward the soil within, thus creating what the designers call a “self-watering greenhouse.” Located near a train station, Biotope will be seen by many pedestrians, cyclists and motorists daily who will have the opportunity to observe the evolution of the greenhouse over its three-year installation period. Neither maintenance activity nor other interference will take place inside the shell during this period; the public will also not be allowed to access the interior. The shell’s site-specific form is optimized for views from the three lane road. Related: This hand-built island is the start of Copenhagen’s “parkipelago” of floating public spaces “Our climate will change,” SHJWorks said. “And maybe we will integrate plants and biological microcosms in our future dwellings and cities. Most likely there will be more harsh and exposed environment on our planet. And we ask ourselves if a solution will be to create microclimates where we — like the bees in this project — have our homes connected to and intertwined with?” + SHJWorks Images via SHJWorks

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An experimental greenhouse pops up at a busy Copenhagen intersection

Weathered steel trees wrap around a solar-powered school building

October 17, 2018 by  
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Delft-based architectural office cepezed recently completed a solar-powered branch for Graafschap College in Doetinchem that — unlike most school buildings in the Netherlands — eschews natural gas in favor of a power supply that’s 100 percent electric. Built for the students of the Sports & Exercise and Safety & Craftsmanship departments, the new school building prioritizes a healthy indoor learning environment that maximizes access to natural daylight and views of the outdoors. In homage of the many oak trees that grow around the building, the architects partially wrapped the structure in tree-shaped weathered steel cladding that serves as a double skin for solar shading. Built to house approximately 700 students, the new Graafschap College branch at Sportpark Zuid features at its heart a large, light-filled atrium named The Midfield in reference to sports and teamwork. The Midfield is organized into a series of cascading terraces with large landing areas that serve as informal meeting spaces. The glass atrium roof floods The Midfield with natural light and is combined with sensor-enabled LED lighting to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. “In order to be able to look over the car park from the ground floor, and to give the building the appearance of a pavilion in green surroundings, the school has been elevated by a half-story and placed on a basement,” the architecture firm noted. “Beside the car park, the height difference is bridged by an elongated, landscaped staircase, which also incorporates a ramp.” Related: Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center is open to the public 24/7 For the facade, the architects installed alternating strips of glass and black aluminum panels to create a sleek and modern appearance. A second skin of perforated Corten steel cut into the shapes of oak trees is laid over the east, west and south facades of the building and helps deflect unwanted solar gain without preventing daylight from entering the building. cepezedinterieur handled the interior design, which also follows a contemporary aesthetic but with brighter colors and patterns that allude to sports and movement. In addition to solar panels, the school also uses solar boilers for water heating. + cepezed Photography by Lucas van der Wee via cepezed

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Weathered steel trees wrap around a solar-powered school building

This breezy, green-roofed home in Singapore embraces nature from all angles

October 17, 2018 by  
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Whereas many modern buildings in Singapore rebel against the country’s tropical climate with air-conditioned, hermetic spaces, international architecture firm Guz Architects decided instead to embrace the natural environment in its design of the Willow House. The single-family home takes on a breezy, pavilion-like appearance with open and well-ventilated spaces that tap into passive design principles and crosswinds for cooling. Draped in climbing plants and organized around ponds and gardens, the home feels like an extension of its lush surroundings. Spanning nearly 900 square meters, the Willow House was completed in 2012 for a young couple with three small children. “The house aimed to create dynamic spaces that encourage play and interaction,” the architects said. Surrounded by tall trees, the home is located in a private oasis of calm that looks a world apart from the dense urban environment  for which Singapore is famous. Oriented to optimize access to cooling breezes, the two-story residence is laid out in a L-shaped plan that wraps around a central courtyard with a pond. A single-story open veranda with an accessible rooftop garden anchors one side of the water courtyard and houses the primary living spaces. The other communal areas — such as the kitchen and dining room — as well as the concealed service areas are located on the ground floor, while the private areas are placed above on the first floor. The master bedroom and children’s bedrooms are placed on opposite sides of the first floor. Related: Lush green roof camouflages the Chameleon Villa into the Indonesian tropics A covered outdoor walkway on the first floor overlooks views of the roof garden and central courtyard , which comprises a large fishpond and a small island with trees. “The movement of water and fish brings life into the courtyard and draws the eye away from the building,” the architects said. In the area between the veranda and kitchen, the fishpond transitions into a shallow freshwater reflecting pond and finally transforms into a 3-meter-deep swimming pool that mirrors the home’s L-shaped layout. + Guz Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Patrick Bingham-Hall

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This breezy, green-roofed home in Singapore embraces nature from all angles

This bold, sustainable home will age gracefully near an Indiana wetland

October 16, 2018 by  
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Compact, energy-efficient and built with locally sourced materials, this hillside home takes a low-impact approach to its wetland surroundings in the city of Valparaiso in northern Indiana. Local design firm Bamesberger Architecture completed the home for a client who wanted a relatively small dwelling overlooking a pristine 400,000-square-foot wetland site. Named The Box after its boxy appearance, the home boasts low-energy needs and does not rely on air conditioning, even in the summer Completed in 2013, The Box spans an area of 960 square feet and consists of a main house, a screened porch and a small storage building. All three structures are slightly offset from one another to offer varied views of the landscape and are connected with two square timber decks. In response to the client’s wishes for a “very affordable” house with wetland views, the architects selected a budget-friendly yet attractive natural materials palette — including blackened steel, stone, concrete and birch plywood — to complement the property’s native trees and grasslands. “To set the house into the site, the main living space was built into the hillside,” the architecture firm explained. “Excavated rocks were reused as a base for the steel encased fireplace as well as a stepping stone inside the front door. The front door was built from a walnut tree found dead on the site.” Related: Charming home uses local, natural materials to pay homage to a chestnut tree The main dwelling includes an open-plan kitchen, dining area and living area on the ground floor. Above, a small loft offers space for sleeping and a home office. A two-story shower takes advantage of the double-height volume, adding what the architects call “a spatial surprise in the otherwise small space.” To minimize energy needs, The Box is wrapped in high-performance insulation and built into the side of the north-facing hill. Radiant underfloor heating and natural ventilation also help keep the home at comfortable temperatures year-round with minimal utility bills. + Bamesberger Architecture Images via Fred Bamesberger

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This bold, sustainable home will age gracefully near an Indiana wetland

Barn-inspired home offers back-to-nature living with a crisp, contemporary twist

October 15, 2018 by  
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Reconnecting with rural roots has never looked better than at Silvernails, a beautiful hillside home fashioned as a rural barn in Rhinebeck, New York. Set on a picturesque 120-acre property near the east side of the Hudson River, the gabled holiday retreat is the first “ground-up” residential work of Manhattan-based Amalgam Studio . In addition to its modern good looks and spectacular outdoor views, Silvernails also boasts an energy-efficient design optimized for cross-ventilation and daylighting. Spanning 5,000 square feet, the timber-clad home is organized as a long and linear rectangular mass clad in timber inside and out. “Much like the traditional communal barn-raising events of the region, the double-height Bent Frames were raised and bolted into place, with the entire timber structure completed in one day,” explained Amalgam Studio founder Ben Albury, who noted that although many people are drawn to the airy and warm character of barns , the rural buildings’ lack of insulation and comfort are turn-offs. To make the barn-inspired residence a comfortable and welcome place to call home, the architects used high-performance glazing and insulation to ensure stable indoor temperatures year-round. In-wall heat-recovery ventilation units and operable windows also promote continuous fresh air. “From the very beginning, the clients wanted a comfortable house. I believe it would have been irresponsible for me not to look at, and ultimately follow, Passive House Standards,” Albury said. “As far as I’m aware, the home features the longest triple-glazed Passive House Certified residential skylight in North America.” In addition to natural ventilation and lighting, Silvernails features LED lighting, an energy-efficient multi-split heat-pump air conditioning system and locally sourced materials. Related: A Michigan farmhouse is reborn as a beautiful modern vacation retreat The exterior is clad with unpainted “plantation pine” treated to withstand rot and pests and applied using a “unique, innovative clip system to the standing seams of roof sheeting.” The interiors include white oak flooring and lining, walnut cabinetry and hickory vanity units. The timber palette is complemented with domestically quarried stone, including granite and slate. + Amalgam Studio Via ArchDaily Images by Oliver Mint

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