Shahar Livne turns recycled ocean plastic into Balenciaga jewelry

February 22, 2021 by  
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Award-winning conceptual material designer Shahar Livne collaborated with fashion design company Balenciaga to create a new line of jewelry made from recycled ocean plastic . Inhabitat caught up with Livne to hear more about the process and inspiration behind the project. “The collaboration took inspiration from my ongoing speculative research project ‘Metamorphism,’ which investigates the future of plastics within the geological record of the Earth and the rebirth of it as a possible future semi-natural material I named ‘Lithoplast,’” Livne told Inhabitat. “In the  ‘Metamorphism’ project, I use different plastics, ocean plastics, or landfill-designated plastics, in developing the new jewelry collection we worked with both, mainly PP and HDPE.” The jewelry line will be available for purchase on the Balenciaga website in May 2021. Related: Nonprofit Washed Ashore crafts art and jewelry from ocean plastic The ocean plastic comes from Oceanworks , a worldwide marketplace for recycled plastic products and raw materials. The company sources plastic materials from all over the world, focusing mainly in Southeast Asia, where it says 60% of the world’s ocean plastic originates. The jewelry line, which consists of bracelets, earrings and rings, also uses marble waste material sourced from a marble processing company as well as landfill-derived plastic from recycling companies. “It was interesting for us to work with OceanWorks-provided materials since we wanted to find the most sustainable and social option,” Livne went on to say. “OceanWorks is a global network that collected plastics from different areas, among them the oceans, with the help of fishermen and other beach cleaning operations, and the connection seemed perfect.” The designer followed a similar process to her “Metamorphism” project, using heat and pressure to create a composite material. The material is then molded by hand into vintage -style shapes designed by Balenciaga, 3D-scanned to create a mold (in order to recreate a coherent style for the entire collection) and then finished by hand by Livne herself. + Shahar Livne Design Via Dezeen Images via Balenciaga and Shahar Livne Design

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Shahar Livne turns recycled ocean plastic into Balenciaga jewelry

Simple, sustainable Valentine’s Day ideas for spending time together

February 12, 2021 by  
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Love is present in the simplest acts. Valentine’s Day 2021 doesn’t have to be about gifts, and it will be more meaningful when it’s not. Plus, committing to spending time together saves you from worrying whether the diamonds were safely mined or the cocoa used in the box of chocolates was harvested ethically. The truth is, conscientious shopping can be time-consumptive and stressful. This Valentine’s Day, keep it simple instead. Dinner and dessert For the past year, the world has been in varying phases of lockdowns, making restaurant reservations unpredictable and somewhat unnerving. Instead of dining out this year, make a meal together. Share a family recipe , try a food neither of you have ever had before, or create a completely vegan dish . Related: Plants to give your loved one this Valentine’s Day If neither of you are kitchen-savvy, take a virtual cooking class. Share the experience of learning a new technique or focus on a specific ethnic cuisine. For dessert, set up a wine and chocolate pairing. Source some organic, fair-trade chocolate and match it with local or international wines made with organic grapes. If you’re not a wine-drinker, sample teas or coffees instead.  Movie day Cozy is the vibe for Valentine’s Day 2021, so cuddle up and enjoy a day of your favorite movies. Establish common ground in viewing preferences. You might be surprised to find your significant other loves documentaries about recycling or period pieces. Then again, maybe a comedy or action flick fits the bill. Round out the date with food and drink selections that are good for the body and the environment like a charcuterie tray of veggies, fruits and nuts. Board games Instead of flipping on the TV, interact over a game board. Will it be a competitive game of Battleship or Scrabble? Take the opportunity to teach and learn from each other. For example, introduce your partner to Backgammon or Chess. Even a basic deck of cards can offer entertainment for hours. Travel locally or virtually The pandemic has stymied most opportunities for casual travel, but Valentine’s Day offers a chance to make up for it. Use the day to sign up for a virtual tour of a museum, historical site or even a chocolate factory. Before or after your virtual experience, spend a few hours brainstorming and planning for your next real vacation. If you have a destination in mind, watch travel shows and online videos related to it. Create your ‘must-see’ list to work from when it’s time to book. If the weather is tolerable, spend the day outdoors. Head to the beach, hike in the mountains, go camping, visit an animal sanctuary or spend the day on the slopes, depending on the regulations in your area. At home, plan an early dinner on the patio followed by drinks by the campfire. It is winter, so if you encounter adverse weather, don’t let it ruin your day. Set up a tent indoors instead. Turn out the lights, light the candles, eliminate the electronics and take the time to enjoy each other’s company. DIY spa time You can make your own sugar scrub and face masks for the day of romance. Paint your partner’s toes or offer a massage. Share a bath, spend time in the sauna if you have one or soak in the hot tub. While a trip to a day spa means you don’t have to put forth any effort yourself, a DIY spa day at home offers a much more intimate and customizable experience. Dance While the majority of bars are closed and many restaurants have tight restrictions, it doesn’t mean you can’t don your dancing shoes. Put together a playlist of your favorite tunes coupled with some romantic ballads. Move the dining table out of the way or dance on top of it. It’s your date — have fun! Volunteer time Giving back to your community together is a meaningful way to strengthen your relationship. If regulations in your area allow it, find a volunteer opportunity and sign up. Head to the food bank or the soup kitchen. Work at the thrift shop or animal shelter. Sign up for a day at a Habitat for Humanity build site. If volunteer options are limited, collect donations instead. Put out a notice to the community, neighbors and/or friends, and organize a drive for diapers, coats, food or other causes close to your heart. Learn a new skill As individuals, you each have your own strengths. Love is about vulnerability, so be willing to try something new. Let your partner teach you a new skill or craft. Face the power tools or mountain bike or stovetop that intimidates you. Trust your partner to lead you into unchartered waters in learning how to throw an ax, make candles or take a spin with the pottery wheel. Have a virtual date If you can’t be together on Valentine’s Day or if you’re wading through the early days of getting to know each other, enjoy a virtual date instead. Set up a video call to share a glass of wine. Better yet, set a shared goal beforehand, such as video chatting while hiking with your pets or bird watching . However you choose to spend your holiday, the circumstances of 2021 might be the perfect opportunity for unique experiences that create long-lasting memories. Images via Adobe Stock

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Simple, sustainable Valentine’s Day ideas for spending time together

A new LEED Gold civic center will reinvigorate downtown Long Beach

January 19, 2021 by  
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As part of Long Beach’s largest public-private partnership effort to date, international architecture firm SOM has helped inject new life into the downtown area with the Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan. This 22-acre project celebrated its grand unveiling of multiple LEED-targeted civic buildings late last year. The Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan, which has redesigned the downtown as a new and vibrant mixed-use district, targets New Development LEED Gold certification. Launched in 2015, the Long Beach Civic Center Master Plan provides a new heart for public life in the City of Long Beach. The LEED Gold-targeted, 270,000-square-foot City Hall and LEED Platinum -targeted, 232,000-square-foot Port Headquarters buildings, both completed in July 2019, are designed with energy-efficient, under-floor air conditioning systems and an abundance of natural light. The solar-powered, 93,500-square-foot Billie Jean King Main Library that opened to the public later that fall is also designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Related: SOM designs a low-carbon waterfront community for China’s “most livable city” The masterplan includes design guidelines for the development of 800 residential units and 50,000 square feet of commercial development. A regional bicycle network, buses and the Metro Blue Line have been woven into the design to promote a pedestrian-friendly environment. The historic Lincoln Park has been revitalized as well to better engage a greater cross-section of the city’s population. “Targeting New Development LEED ® Gold certification, the new Civic Center plan optimizes operations and maintenance, maximizes street parking, introduces plazas and promenades, and expands bike infrastructure to create a hierarchy and quality of place,” SOM explained in a project description. “The proposed sidewalk configurations, along with the scale and density of tree planting, create not only a welcoming and walkable environment, but a differentiated sense of place — one that befits the city’s dynamic center for culture, recreation, education, and government.” + SOM Images via SOM | Fotoworks/Benny Chan, 2020

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A new LEED Gold civic center will reinvigorate downtown Long Beach

This plastic-free, organic personal care kit is ‘All Good’

December 25, 2020 by  
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When they say it’s All Good, this ethical body care company means it’s good for you and the planet. In addition to the company’s notable organic products previously highlighted in a variety of publications, All Good has now taken the extra step to remove all plastic from the products and shipping packaging in its newest two releases. All Good began in 2006 with the mission to do good. Since its inception, the company has become a member of 1% for the Planet, the J.E.D.I Collaborative and many other industry partnerships for environmental and social justice. Plus, All Good has earned the coveted B-Corp Certification. Related: How your beauty routine might be killing sharks All Good’s newest products Recently, All Good unveiled the Plastic Free Body Care Set, a set of organic body care products packaged with zero waste . It features All Good Goop Skin Relief Balm, reef-friendly SPF 50 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Butter, nourishing Coconut Hand & Body Lotion and a hydrating Coconut Lip Balm. Each item is housed in glass, paper or metal containers and presented in an unbleached canvas travel pouch, making everything reusable, recyclable and biodegradable. While the switch to sustainable outer packaging is a direct response to requests from consumers, the company’s product ingredients are plant-based and organically grown, some harvested from All Good’s own farm. The brand’s commitment to staying away from harmful ingredients means no oxybenzone, gluten, phthalates or parabens. Ingredients grown on the company’s farm rely on regenerative agricultural practices in alignment with sustainable practices. Many products are made in a solar-powered community kitchen. A second product release, called the Get Glowing Lip and Cheek Tint collection, is equally botanically and organically formulated with a focus on ingredients like shea butter and avocado oil, as well as calendula harvested from the same organic farm near Morro Bay, California. The kit includes four colors of blush: rosy beige, coral golden pink, jam berry and shimmer to match any mood. They are packaged in recyclable glass jars. Each of these products is reef-friendly and provides broad spectrum SPF 15 protection. Is All Good really all good? All Good offered to send me a sample kit for review and promptly shipped the Plastic Free Body Care Set. I should start by saying I’m not much of a skincare aficionado and would go so far as to say that my lack of a skincare routine makes my skin health-conscious daughter cringe. However, I am dedicated to sun protection in the form of sunscreen and lip care, so I was excited to dig into my kit. The packaging the kit was sent in was minimalistic , plastic-free and recyclable as expected. The canvas bag is really cute in a very natural way. The statement is clear with the plain earthy colors, and the adorable little turtle is a nice touch and personal favorite of mine. I first grabbed for the Goop Skin Relief Balm. This was my favorite product for a very simple reason — I love the scent. Made with organic herbs and olive oil, I wouldn’t really call it scented. It just smells nourishing, and it is. Since I had just spent the weekend hauling wood for my home’s fireplaces, I had plenty of battle wounds to nurture. The compound is buttery without being greasy. It made my rough knuckles and scraped arms soft and a bit shimmery. Even though I liked the aroma, it was a bit strong for me. However, I’d put myself in the category of extremely scent-sensitive, so the power of the product’s scent might not be a problem for everyone. Next, I reached for the Coconut Body Lotion. I found the consistency luxurious. Although it’s made with cocoa butter and rosehip oil, it doesn’t leave an oily residue. My dry skin (remember aforementioned fireplaces) drank it in willingly, and the results were immediate. The hand and body lotion is high-quality. A little goes a long way, and a single application left my hands feeling soft and looking supple for hours — even with all the handwashing. Unfortunately the coconut smell was a little strong for me, although I imagine most people would find it to be subtle. If you like coconut, you would probably describe it as pleasant. My daughter immediately rehomed it as a favor to my senses, or so she says. I moved on to the reef-friendly, SPF 50 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Butter. While the lotion and Goop came in glass jars, the sunscreen is housed in a tin. It’s recently been 36°F and cloudy, so I wasn’t able to test it at the beach; All Good reports it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The tint looks dark but was subtle when applied to my off-season pale skin. It is a butter, so it has a slightly heavy feel. Although I would say it felt a bit greasy, I can see how that is beneficial for the sunscreen protection requirements. Lastly was the Hydrating Coconut Lip Balm. Admittedly, I am obsessed with lip-moisturizing products. What I lack in skincare products, I make up for in readily-available lip balms in every corner of my home and car. This lip balm lives up to the name. It’s hydrating, nourishing and unequivocally coconut. I loved the texture and moisturizing aspects, but, again, the scent was too much for me. My teenage son quickly adopted it and reports he loves the way it smells and feels on his lips. The packaging is unique to any roll-up lip balm I’ve used, and I deeply appreciate the design away from plastic. In addition to the products, the kit came with a nice message from the company, printed on a seed paper you can plant and watch grow into wildflowers. I thought this was a lovely touch and dynamic way to show the All Good commitment to a sustainable business model. + All Good Images via All Good and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by All Good. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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This plastic-free, organic personal care kit is ‘All Good’

Giant bamboo arches shield Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute from the sun

December 9, 2020 by  
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Along the Atlantic coast of Ghana’s Central Region in Apam, Vienna-based, trans-disciplinary lab [applied] Foreign Affairs has designed and erected a giant bamboo dome for the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute, an open institution for artists and cultural practitioners from Africa and Europe. The large-scale project, which was built together with local experts and locals, serves as a multipurpose stage. The experimental structure was constructed with ‘Bambusa vulgaris,’ one of the few species of bamboo available in Ghana that can be used for construction. Designed to serve as a beacon of bamboo architecture in Ghana , the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute stage features a grid shell built primarily of bamboo. “Constructing with bamboo is also meant to foster the reputation of sustainable architecture in Ghana,” the architects explained. The project’s bamboo consultant, Jörg Stamm, adds that the aim of the project is “to put Ghana on the world map of bamboo.” Related: Student designs inflatable bamboo greenhouses for sustainable farming To that end, bamboo was used for both the main structural elements and the joinery. Thousands of bamboo nails were produced — instead of metal elements that can corrode in salty conditions — and used to join together bamboo arches, the culms of which were treated with borax. Once the main structure was erected, the designers covered it with a durable “skin” resistant to strong wind forces that also protects the structure from tropical rains and the intense sunlight. Set close to the water, the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute stage takes advantage of cooling ocean breezes. The bamboo roof connects a rammed earth stage on the south side with a concrete plinth to the north. The site also includes a wooden deck, a café, a lounge and entrances to the beach. The open nature of the stage allows for a variety of seating configurations.  + [applied] Foreign Affairs Photography by Julien Lanoo

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Giant bamboo arches shield Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute from the sun

YY Nation shoes are made from bamboo, algae, pineapple and sugarcane

November 9, 2020 by  
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Tens of thousands of years ago, early hunter-gatherers braved frozen landscapes to go in search of food. And on their feet, they weren’t wearing nylon, plastic or synthetic materials. They were wearing natural materials. YY Nation does the exact same thing with its incredible new footwear collection. These shoes are made with pineapple husk , bamboo, sugarcane, algae and Merino wool. Why would you need nylon and plastic when there are durable, natural materials like that available? YY Nation says you don’t. Imagine a beautiful beach in Hawaii. A man is walking along the sand with his daughter. They can hear birds singing. They can see the breathtaking ocean lapping against the shore. Then they look down … and see plastic waste and old shoes. This is what happened to Jeremy Bank. After that experience, he created YY Nation. Related: Native Shoes’ Bloom collection is made of repurposed algae Shoes can be stylish, comfortable and still good for the environment; YY Nation is the proof. After launching on Kickstarter, YY Nation began to receive orders worldwide. That makes sense, because YY Nation footwear was created to improve the whole world — in style, of course. These shoes look trendy and fashionable. They are available in a variety of colors, but best of all, they are made with Earth-friendly materials that won’t leave a bunch of waste behind on the beach or anywhere else. The collection includes four styles: loafers, two types of sneakers and high-tops. Not only do these shoes look great, but they’re also odor-resistant, durable and temperature-regulating, so your feet stay comfortable. YY Nation’s goal is to be the most sustainable shoe in the world. These shoes are made with ocean plastics, recycled rubber, sustainably sourced bamboo , algae bloom and other natural materials. They are held together with an eco-friendly, water-based glue. Even the shoeboxes are made with recycled materials, and the shoe laces are made from recycled ocean plastic. This is how the world becomes better: one step at a time. + YY Nation Images via YY Nation

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YY Nation shoes are made from bamboo, algae, pineapple and sugarcane

Middelkerke Casino blends into the surrounding Belgian sand dunes

October 22, 2020 by  
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Great architectural design provides function for indoor spaces but also considers the effect on the surrounding outdoor space. This is especially true in a sensitive habitat, like that along the coastline of Belgium, where a massive casino will meld into the curving landscape while bringing an economic boost to the region. As winner of a recent Design & Build Competition, Nautilus consortium plans to honor both the history and the landscape with the new building, which will be located in the municipality of Middelkerke. Related: Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnam’s beaches The primary design goal was to create visual appeal that blends into the seascape rather than standing out against it, with a focus on building placement and integration. For example, the event hall, restaurant and casino will be situated behind transparent facades that offer views of the beach, sea and horizon beyond. From the outside, the wood structure of the ‘boulder’-shaped hotel is striking, with a light, natural appeal that contrasts the surrounding glass- and concrete-clad buildings and merges seamlessly into the surrounding flora. Energy savings are incorporated into every phase of the design, including the cantilevered dune on top of the ground floor and the terraces of the hotel tower, which protrude over the facade, creating shade during hot summer months. In addition, the layout takes advantage of the cooling sea breezes. Material waste is avoided wherever possible, and recycled materials are incorporated throughout construction. Structurally, the campus addresses flood risk through dike reinforcement while also providing a public space that is pedestrian-friendly . The upper seawall area is a car-free zone focused on bicyclists and foot traffic; an underground parking garage offers convenience and keeps cars out of sight. “With this project our coast will be enriched with a new architectural anchor, that accurately represents the character of Middelkerke,” said Mayor Jean-Marie Dedecker. “It transmits strength and soberness as well as sophistication, with a lot of love for the sea and the dunes. In addition, this project may mean the beginning of the renewal of Middelkerke’s town centre as an appealing place to live and visit.” Nautilus consortium is a collaboration between developer Ciril, chief designers ZJA (architecture) and DELVA ( landscape architecture ), OZ (casino and hotel design), executive architect Bureau Bouwtechniek and contractors Furnibo and Democo. They are assisted by experts from COBE, VK Engineering, Beersnielsen, Witteveen+Bos, Plantec, MINT and Sertius. + ZJA Images via Nautilus Consortium

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Middelkerke Casino blends into the surrounding Belgian sand dunes

Miami Beach Convention Center receives a stunning LEED Silver makeover

October 7, 2020 by  
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Global design firm Fentress Architects and Arquitectonia have given the 1950s-era Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) a sustainable and modern redesign — that has also recently received LEED Silver certification . Located in the heart of Miami Beach, Florida, the convention center has long been internationally known as the host for annual events such as Art Basel Miami Beach and eMERGE Americas. With the recent renovation and expansion, the energy-efficient venue is not only better equipped to withstand hurricanes but is now recognized as one of the most technologically advanced convention centers in the U.S. Completed earlier this year, the 1.4-million-square-foot redesign of the Miami Beach Convention Center takes cues from the regional context for both its exterior and interior design. The eye-catching exterior facade features more than 500 unique aluminum solar fins that, when seen from afar, mimic the movement of nearby ocean waves. Inside, colors and patterns were used to emulate receding water, sea foam and local coral reef patterns. Satellite images of nearby ocean waves, coral and sandbars were even used to create custom carpet patterns. Related: BIG weaves green roofs into a mixed-use development on stilts in Miami In addition to providing contextual cues, the exterior angled fins help to mitigate solar gain while filtering dappled light to the indoors. Glazing and connections were selected for resistance to projectiles and hurricanes to comply with FEMA code. Critical building systems have also been elevated to the second floor to allow the building to remain operational in the event of flooding or rising sea levels. The project’s resiliency to storms extends to the outdoor landscape as well. Together with West8, Fentress Architects transformed the existing 6-acre surface parking lot into a vibrant public park that includes a tropical garden, game lawn, shaded areas and a veterans’ plaza. In total, 12 acres of green space have been added along with over 1,300 new trees to increase the previous acreage of the 25-acre campus by 245%. + Fentress Architects + Arquitectonia Photography by Robin Hill, Craig Denis and Tom Clark via Fentress Architects and Miami Beach Convention Center

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Miami Beach Convention Center receives a stunning LEED Silver makeover

This tiny home on stilts features an awesome secret patio

August 25, 2020 by  
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Known as LaLa’s Seaesta, this 410-square-foot tiny home located just blocks from the beach features reclaimed wood and a secret hidden patio. The home, designed by Texas-based Plum Construction, takes full advantage of its small stature with a dining nook that converts into a sleeping area and a swinging bed made from salvaged wooden doors. In addition to the 410 square feet of main living space, there is also an 80-square-foot interior loft accessible by ladder. The ladder to the loft was designed and built by Christine of Plum Construction and includes a closed system to stop it from falling and keep it flush against the wall while not in use. Christine also built and installed the beautiful wall treatment in the main bedroom that is made of old beadboard salvaged from a 100-year-old building in downtown Galveston. Related: This gorgeous tiny home features a greenhouse and wooden pergola The exterior is painted in a bold black hue, while the inside is soft pink, adding a unique contrast of tones. Inside, the dining nook and ottoman utilize custom upholstery, and the full kitchen contains custom Carrara marble countertops and a vintage-style refrigerator. This dining nook easily converts from a sitting area to a full-sized bed. The contemporary sofa, the centerpiece of the living room, was given a second life through reupholstering. Local artwork from a Galveston artist adorns the walls throughout the home, and the patio section has a painted mural inspired by a Brooklyn graffiti wall. The gable decoration in the front of the house is constructed from reclaimed cypress wood from a nearby house that dates back 120 years. The real hidden gem in this tiny home is the large patio underneath. It provides the occupant with a fun, bonus hangout space with ventilated slatted walls. The patio comes complete with several swings, a hammock, a bar, an outdoor shower for rinsing off after the beach, a sitting area, electrical outlets for a fan or watching TV and, of course, the lovely swinging bed made from two salvaged doors. Century-old reclaimed wood was also used in the construction of the bar and swings. LaLa’s Seaesta is available for rent on Airbnb . + Plum Construction Images via Plum Construction

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This tiny home on stilts features an awesome secret patio

Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

July 21, 2020 by  
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American architect Alec Petros has completed the Seaside Reef House, a timber-clad home that celebrates indoor/outdoor living at Solana Beach, California. Designed for Australian clients, the beach house takes cues from the Australian vernacular with its breezy, coastal appearance. Sustainability was also emphasized in the design, which features FSC-certified cedar and passive cooling strategies . Petros gained the commission after a serendipitous meeting with the client at a local bookstore, where the two coincidentally picked up the same architecture book and struck up a conversation that revealed a shared design aesthetic. The challenge with the project was not only the site’s odd shape but also the client’s desires for maximized ocean views and an open floor plan while preserving a sense of privacy in the densely populated coastal area. Related: A Brisbane cottage is sustainably updated to gracefully age in place As a result, Petros strategically placed a floor-to-ceiling door system and large windows to capture ocean views and cooling cross-breezes along the western and southern facades instead of wrapping the entire building in glass. To further emphasize the indoor/outdoor connection, Petros included deep roof eaves that measure 7 feet in length and a natural materials palette. The open-plan layout and interior pocket door systems help maintain sight lines and ensure flexibility for long-term use. “Another strong detail in the thought process behind the design related to sustainability,” Petros explained in a design statement. “The siding is composed of vertical FSC-certified cedar boards attached to a horizontal sleeper system, which created an air gap between the siding and the water-proofing. This allows sunlight to heat the boards without transferring a majority of that heat into the building itself. The beauty of this design is that it reduces the energy usage on the house where cooling is considered.” The wood siding was also selected for its ability to age gracefully in the humid, coastal region. + Alec Petros Studio Images via Alec Petros Studio

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Passively cooled Californian beach house channels Australian vibes

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