Planned community embraces luxe, eco-conscious design in Bocas del Toro, Panama

December 25, 2019 by  
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More than 12 years in the making, the 457-acre planned community of Casi Cielo has just begun sales for its first phase. Located on Panama’s northern province of Bocas del Toro, the high-end resort will emphasize a sustainable, low carbon footprint with site-specific architecture informed by passive solar principles and the natural environment. Led by developer Circular Strategy Group, the Casi Cielo development was created with help from Mario Lazo & Unidad Diseño, WATG and XOC2 to create a “future-forward” masterplan on an undeveloped peninsula next to the ocean within close proximity of the 45,000-acre protected San San-Pond Oak natural reserve. The mixed-use site will include a grid of 75 turn-key sites with 118 hotel suites and 77 branded luxury residences designed by Zurcher Arquitectos, Wimberly Interiors and GOCO Hospitality. Related: This private island resort in Panama promises sustainable luxury “Being from Panama , I felt this was a golden opportunity, not only to preserve Bocas and make positive impact in the region but also introduce a new way for conscious communities to be built,” said Moshe Levi, co-developer of Casi Cielo. “With the infrastructure already in place, Casi Cielo essentially serves as a blank canvas that will continue to evolve, while remaining a true haven for those seeking a different way of life.” Indoor-outdoor living will be celebrated at Casi Cielo, which will also emphasize its connection with nature by offering outdoor-oriented wellness and eco-tourism programs that take advantage of the site’s proximity to world-class surf and a tropical jungle landscape. To optimize the energy performance of the community, the architects have taken passive solar strategies into account when placing and orienting the buildings. Solar thermal and rainwater collection systems are expected to be integrated into the design as well. Casi Cielo is slated to open in 2021. + Casi Cielo Images via Casi Cielo

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Planned community embraces luxe, eco-conscious design in Bocas del Toro, Panama

Chic prefab home annex pops up with speed and efficiency in Mexico

July 1, 2019 by  
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When a client pressed for time approached SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos to design his home annex, the Mexico City-based architectural firm decided that prefabrication would be the best way to abide by the tight construction timeframe. Built offsite in a factory and then transported to the client’s property for final assembly, the modular abode— named Casa Molina—proves that quick construction can translate to beautiful results. Completed in 2015, the chic and contemporary two-bedroom annex embraces a minimalist aesthetic and outdoor living in Mexico. Spanning approximately 1,800 square feet, Casa Molina comprises a set of modules with dimensions— nearly 24 feet by nearly 8 feet— determined by the transport vehicle. The building was prefabricated in an off-site workshop where all the lighting, electrical, plumbing, and finishes of the floors, walls and ceilings were fitted into place before the modules were shipped to the site. A foundation was prepared at the site and the modules were assembled over several days. Related: This prefab treehouse can be assembled in merely a few days Set within a steel structural frame and elevated off the ground, the modules are arranged in a roughly L-shaped layout that consists of the larger bedroom wing on the south side and the communal spaces on the north end, housed within three modules. The private and public wings are connected with a centrally located terrace with a wide set of stairs that lead up from the grass to the elevated building. In keeping with the quick construction timeframe, a minimalist material palette was used. The black steel framing was left exposed and paired with gray floor tiles throughout while engineered timber planks add a sense of warmth into the space. The timber furnishings and soft fabrics also soften the industrial feel of the boxy annex. The communal areas are fully exposed to the outdoors, while the bedrooms are enclosed for comfort. + SOA Soler Orozco Arquitectos Via Archdaily Images by Cesar Béjar

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Chic prefab home annex pops up with speed and efficiency in Mexico

Breezy home in Mexico uses strategic cross ventilation and natural light to reduce its energy use

May 20, 2019 by  
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RDLP Arquitectos have unveiled Casa Puebla, a beautiful family home that incorporates traditional Mexican design with modern passive features . The stunning project features a contemporary shell over two rectangular volumes clad in raw concrete, paying homage to the tilework found in traditional Mexican constructions. The design features several passive design elements, including cross ventilation, natural light and sun shades, all of which reduce the home’s energy needs. According to the architects, one of the principle inspirations behind Casa Puebla’s beautiful,  nature-inspired design was the Popocatépetl volcano, one of the most beloved natural icons in central Mexico. Using the fiery landmark as a pillar of the design, architects then blended a series of natural elements with an avant-garde aesthetic. Related: The Nogal House saves energy with smart site-specific design The structure was built with two interconnecting rectangular volumes that form an L-shape. To add a bit of “visual contradiction,” the heavier concrete block was set on top of the lower glass-enclosed block. This unusual feature was instrumental in creating a double-height formation that ensures continual vertical ventilation throughout the interior. In addition, the design was strategic in creating multiple outdoor nooks that are shaded by the roof of the upper level. These outdoor areas, used for reading, entertaining and dining, forge a strong connection between the interior and the outdoors. As an implicit tribute to the local vernacular, the home was built with locally sourced, natural materials, primarily concrete and wood. The exposed concrete cladding , which provides a strong thermal envelope, pays homage to the use of tiles in traditional Mexican architecture. Vertical wooden shutters provide shade from the harsh summer sun while diffusing natural light throughout the interior. The use of concrete continues inside, where board-formed concrete makes up the walls and the pillars that frame the floor-to-ceiling glass panels . On the ground floor, an open floor plan houses the kitchen, dining and living rooms, and sliding glass doors lead to the exterior spaces. Contemporary furniture and elements run throughout the home, including a “floating” staircase that leads to the upper level. + RDLP Arquitectos Via Archdaily Images via RDLP Arquitectos

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Breezy home in Mexico uses strategic cross ventilation and natural light to reduce its energy use

Aging Portuguese granary transformed into a serene sanctuary in the trees

January 29, 2018 by  
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The Dovecote-Granary in Portugal is a temple in the trees where people can reconnect with nature and themselves. The simple structure stands on the granite foundation of what was once a 19th-century maize granary. Tiago do Vale Arquitectos took cues from traditional local architecture while reconstructing the rotting building as a place of serenity and contemplation. The structure combines three vernacular typologies: granary, dovecote, and drying shed. It is built out of oak wood in the same style as the granaries that stood there for centuries. Sadly, the wood of the granaries had rotted beyond salvage, so the architects documented the existing structure and re-constructed it out of fresh wood. By documenting the original building in its entirety, as well as the building techniques used in its construction, the architects managed to successfully re-create the building stronger than it was originally, while preserving its spirit and giving it new life. Related: Salima Naji’s Preservation of Sacred Moroccan Granary Sites Nominated for Aga Khan Award With farming disappearing from the area, the original function of the structure became obsolete. This prompted its current use as a kind of temple, a sanctuary among the tree canopies, and an iconic shape in the rural landscape of the Minho region. The architects reconstructed the two granaries on the original foundation to act as the walls of the new building and topped them with a dovecote, while the interior re-creates the traditional drying shed. + Tiago do Vale Arquitectos Via ArchDaily Photos by João Morgado

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Elevated glass-bottomed pool hovers over a second pool in the hip Wall House

September 15, 2017 by  
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An outdoor swimming pool with a glass bottom hovers above the second pool of this gorgeous residence in the Portuguese Riviera. Guedes Cruz Arquitectos designed the entire Wall House as a sprawling, open-plan house that embodies the principles of indoor-outdoor living, with so many gorgeous elements that it’s surreal. On one of its side, the residence features an expansive glass wall that can be opened to create a direct connection between the interior space, the garden and golf course. Wood slat coverings cover the concrete exterior walls and can be shut to provide complete privacy when needed. Related: Glass-bottomed sky pool will be suspended 115 feet in the air The most striking feature are the two outdoor swimming pools . The first is located on the ground level, while the second one hovers above the patio and has a glass bottom. The surreal visual effect of this bridge-like structure create unlikely visual connections between different levels of the house. + Guedes Cruz Arquitectos Via Dwell Photos by Ricardo Oliveira Alves

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Elevated glass-bottomed pool hovers over a second pool in the hip Wall House

Architects use local materials to build beautiful Costa Rica community center

January 30, 2017 by  
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Round building offer many advantages in terms of sustainability and resilience , so it’s no surprise to see disaster-prone communities turning to the curved architecture. Fournier Rojas Arquitectos recently created a beautifully round community center for the small Costa Rican town of El Rodeo de Mora. The center, which was primarily built with locally-sourced and donated materials, will provide the economically disadvantaged area with an adaptable space for hold community events and a shelter during natural disasters. El Rodeo de Mora is rural community located in hot and humid central Costa Rica, which sees extended periods of heavy rainfall. These conditions, along with poor construction, caused the community’s existing center to deteriorate over the years. When Fournier Rojas Arquitectos stepped in to work pro bono on the project, they focused primarily on constructing a building that would be sustainable and durable granted the tropical climate. Related: Villa Nyberg: A Passive Swedish Prefab with a Cool Circular Floorplan They based the design layout on the needs of the community – it offers a kitchen, toilets, a storage facility and amenities for the local soccer team – but they were also working within the challenges of the location itself. Costa Rica has strict regulations in place to reduce damage from earthquakes, and the architects built the center (which can hold up to 100 people) on high ground to protect it from flooding . Using local materials , many of which were donated, the architects managed to keep the cost down to less than $250 USD per square meter. At the heart of the center is an adaptable circular room, whose exterior is made of clay ventilation bricks – a common material of choice for tropical environments. Not only did the round design help cut down the cost in terms of materials needed, but the circular layout provides natural air circulation. The entire building sits on reinforced concrete columns. Eight pitched roofs made from lightweight fiber-cement sheets make up the building’s canopy, which extends out past the circular volume, further providing shade and protection from the elements. The “layering” style of the roof was strategic to further optimize the building’s natural ventilation . The design has won an award from the WAC (World Architecture Community, May 2015) and a Special Mention in S.ARCH AWARDS (May 2016). + Fournier Rojas Arquitectos Via Archdaily Photography by Fernando Alda

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Stunning Madrid apartment features space-saving, multifunctional plywood furniture

December 17, 2014 by  
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Spanish architectural firm + BUJ+COLÓN Arquitectos has just completed renovation work on a gorgeous apartment in Madrid. The team used plywood strategically as both the primary material for the home’s furniture and a distinguishing dividing feature within the compact layout. The finished Plywood Trio apartment offers residents an elegant, efficient living space. Read the rest of Stunning Madrid apartment features space-saving, multifunctional plywood furniture Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , building materials , BUJ+COLÓN Arquitectos , madrid apartments , plywood apartment madrid , plywood furniture , plywood trio apartment , spanish architecture , Urban design

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Stunning Madrid apartment features space-saving, multifunctional plywood furniture

Unique Elliptical Skylight Naturally Illuminates Portugal’s Sophisticated Pó House

April 24, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Unique Elliptical Skylight Naturally Illuminates Portugal’s Sophisticated Pó House Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Architecture , geometric design , home design , minimalistic homes , Pó House , Portuguese architects , portuguese architecture , portuguese home design , Ricardo Silva Carvalho Arquitectos , solar exposure , Urban design

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Unique Elliptical Skylight Naturally Illuminates Portugal’s Sophisticated Pó House

gmp Wins Competition to Build Shanghai’s First Closed Cavity Facade Office Buildings

April 24, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of gmp Wins Competition to Build Shanghai’s First Closed Cavity Facade Office Buildings Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , china , closed cavity façade , double skin facade , gmp , gmp architects , green roofs , LEED gold , office buildings , shanghai , shanghai south railway station , Sustainable Building , Vanke , vanke offices , vanke real estate

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gmp Wins Competition to Build Shanghai’s First Closed Cavity Facade Office Buildings

Studio Formafantasma Creates Mind-Blowing Objects from Mt. Etna’s Volcanic Lava

April 24, 2014 by  
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Studio Formafantasma is more focused on the materials that go into their work than the form or function it will ultimately take. This has led to projects that make use of organic resins in place of plastics , hand-crafted leather , and now basaltic lava taken from two of the last active volcanoes in Europe. The De Natura Fossilium line includes beautifully carved clocks, tables, stools, glasses, tableware, and textiles, some of which are even made from a lava-based glass. Read the rest of Studio Formafantasma Creates Mind-Blowing Objects from Mt. Etna’s Volcanic Lava Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “natural materials” , De Natura Fossilium by De Natura Fossilium , De Natura Fossilium made from material collected at Europe’s last two active volcanos. Studio Formafantasma use igneous rock to create unique pieces of art , hand-blown glass artwork made from the volcanic rocks of Mt Etna , MT. Etna , obsidian mirror by Studio Formafantasma , Studio Formafantasma , Studio Formafantasma create beautiful art from volcanic lava , Studio Formafantasma experiment with volcanic fiber to create hand-woven wall art , volcanic lava art

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Studio Formafantasma Creates Mind-Blowing Objects from Mt. Etna’s Volcanic Lava

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