Charred timber home perched above Silicon Valley takes cues from nature

January 15, 2018 by  
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High above Silicon Valley sits a striking home with a two-story volume clad in blackened cedar. Schwartz and Architecture designed the residence, named Shou Sugi Ban House after the traditional Japanese method used to burn the wood to wrap it in a layer of carbon highly resistant to water, fire, and mold. The charred timber volume is an extension to an existing one-story home, the interior of which was also substantially remodeled by the architects. Located on the crest of a hill in Los Gatos, California, Shou Sugi Ban House is a 4,350-square-foot renovation and expansion project that takes inspiration from the surrounding landscape, including the texture and look of boulders, bark, and leaves. “Enlarging an existing home that has an already strong and complete architectural character can be challenging,” wrote the architects. “Here, we anchor the existing one-story home with a new two-story independent volume, using it both as punctuation mark and counterpoint to the existing composition. We clad the addition in traditional Japanese Shou Sugi Ban burnt cedar siding both to anchor home with site and to create the visual weight necessary to anchor the existing exuberantly-roofed horizontal building.” Related: Stunning Lake Michigan home is built from dying ash reclaimed onsite In contrast to the extension’s dark facade, the airy interior features whitewashed walls with natural textures applied throughout. A family room occupies the lower level while a bedroom is placed upstairs. Views of the outdoors are framed through large full-height glazing making it feel as if the interior is open to the outdoors. A particularly beautiful feature of the new extension is the minimalist floating staircase made of painted-steel and cantilevered walnut treads that the architects liken to leaves growing on a branch. + Schwartz and Architecture Images via Matthew Millman

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Charred timber home perched above Silicon Valley takes cues from nature

Blackened timber cottage with solar replaces a decayed brick home

November 27, 2017 by  
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An old and decayed brick house north of Amsterdam has transformed into a modern solar-powered dwelling that stands out from its neighbors, while respecting the local vernacular. Dutch firm Chris Collaris Architects completed the renovated home, cladding the facade and asymmetric gabled roof entirely with blackened pinewood to achieve a minimalist look. Passive solar principles guided the redesign, called House MM, which features black solar panels, high-density insulation, recycled materials, double-sealed windows, and an emphasis on natural lighting. House MM offers a rather limited floor area of 60 square meters, but the redesign of the interior gives it a much more spacious feeling than its brick predecessor. Tall ceilings, white walls, and an abundance of natural light create the illusion of space. Materials salvaged from the old house punctuate the interior, like the repurposed roof tiles and timber flooring seen in the garden and the brick walls found throughout the new home. Related: Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home Despite its two-story appearance, the home includes three floors thanks to the addition of a mezzanine . “The roof lines were bound to restricted heights. By cantilevering the lower parts outside the main building volume, the upper level of the house increases,” wrote the architects. “A house with a high ceiling on every floor level and an extra attic is the result of this design feature. The extra win is a dry walk along the North facade while walking underneath the cantilevering roof part towards the entrance.” + Chris Collaris Architects Via ArchDaily Images by Tim van de Velde

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Blackened timber cottage with solar replaces a decayed brick home

BMW reveals bike ‘Hyperloop’ with elevated climate-controlled tubes

November 27, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever tried to commute via bike, you know it can be fraught with danger: doors opening into the bike lane, pedestrians that jump out of nowhere, smog in your face and rain-slick streets. Now picture an elevated tube that lets cyclists move around the city in a safe, climate-controlled, enclosed bicycle superhighway . BMW wants to make it happen. Called the Vision E3 Way and designed in collaboration with Shanghai’s Tongji University , the idea is to create elevated tubes that connect to traffic hubs, shopping areas and underground stations, accessed by a ramp with barriers to control the amount of traffic in the tubes. Any zero-emissions, two-wheeled vehicle is welcome, and the climate would be controlled so you could comfortably commute all year-round. Related: Berlin plans at least 12 new bike superhighways Lighting and climate control would be powered by a rooftop array of solar panels . To encourage car owners to bike, rental stations would be placed throughout the network. The system could not only improve travel for cyclists, but the reduction in traffic congestion and air pollution could make life better for everyone. ‘It’s our Hyperloop ,’ said Markus Seidel, head of the BMW Technology Office China. Via Digital Trends

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BMW reveals bike ‘Hyperloop’ with elevated climate-controlled tubes

Dande-lier: Everyday objects transformed into stunning art in Singapore

November 27, 2017 by  
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Umbrellas and PVC pipes might not mean much to you, but in the right hands they can be turned into a stunning work of art. That’s what happened in Singapore earlier this year with the unveiling of Dande-lier, a temporary art installation and public space crafted from everyday objects. Design collective Colours: Collectively Ours used dozens of transparent umbrellas and PVC pipes to create an unusual dome-shaped pavilion that lit up at night like a glowing lantern. Created for Asia’s leading sustainable light art festival i Light Marina Bay in Singapore, Dande-lier was constructed to wow visitors at night, yet appeal to passersby during the day. Built for easy assembly, the pavilion was constructed from seven layers of triangular PVC pipe modules held together with metal pipe clamps. The resulting dome-shaped structure supported a canopy of tied translucent umbrellas . “Dande-lier conveys a feeling of weightlessness by using lightweight umbrellas, transforming an everyday object into a device to change the visitors’ perspective of their surroundings,” wrote the designers. “The umbrella spans across scales, individually as a chandelier, and collectively as a dandelion – hence, “Dande-lier”. Within, the view of the outside world is warped, transporting visitors into an alternate world, with a smart lighting system that responds dynamically to the visitors’ position in the sculpture.” Related: Mesmerizing Cube Pavillion Made from Mundane PVC Pipes While the installation provided shelter and respite from the sun during the day, at night it was transformed into a dynamic art installation illuminated by a smart lighting system. Motion sensors triggered changes in the colored lights and projected animations. + Colours: Collectively Ours Via ArchDaily Images © Oddinary Studios

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

October 27, 2017 by  
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When Milan-based Small Architecture Workshop was asked to design a tiny sauna for a bed and breakfast in Åmot, Sweden, they wanted to do so with minimal environmental impact. The result of their efforts is this dreamy floating sauna on a lake wrapped in blackened timber to blend in with its forested surroundings. The architects built the compact structure in the span of two weeks as the first in a series of new amenities for the nearby bed and breakfast set in the middle of the forest. Located a three-hour drive from Stockholm , the bed and breakfast and accompanying sauna are an idyllic nature retreat for city dwellers. To minimize site impact , Small Architecture Workshop built the sauna on an existing wooden pier that they fixed up, thus avoiding digging and damaging the shoreline. The traditional Japanese technique of Yakisugi—more popularly known as Shou Sugi Ban—was applied to the sauna’s exterior cladding to make the timber resistant to weather, rot, and bugs. Related: Gigantic golden egg sauna warms up residents of Sweden’s northernmost town In contrast to the dark facade, the sauna is lined with light-colored alder wood. Visitors access the sauna through a covered space that serves as a dressing room and firewood storage room. Full-height glazing fronts the sauna, which can comfortably accommodate eight, to frame unobstructed views of the lake. + Small Architecture Workshop Via Dezeen Images via Small Architecture Workshop

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Floating sauna with charred timber cladding boasts minimal site impact

Blackened timber home draws energy from a large wood-burning stove

August 26, 2016 by  
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The House Bäumle 2 was built on a slender strip of land next to a steep incline that falls away to a small stream. Its arresting blackened timber facade is a nod to the traditional vernacular of sunburned agriculture houses that the architects say have largely disappeared in Vorarlberg’s Rhine Valley. Large square windows of varying sizes with unpainted timber frames punctuate the dark facade. A large reinforced concrete mass sits at the heart of the home to help absorb and retain heat during the day and release it during cool nights. Heat is provided through a large black wood-burning stove and heat pump. The home’s highly insulated frame also helps prevent heat from escaping. Related: Prefab C/Z House is clad in blackened timber on the island of Pico Aside from the concrete core, the interior of the home is largely lined in untreated wood for a cozy appearance. “The classic theme of a solid characterful center of the house is operated, which includes the stove, the kitchen and the bathrooms,” write the architects. “Opposite, towards the windows it becomes continuous wooden, more tender, lighter. The spatial compression of the interior widens softly, with differentiated transitions, to the exterior.” + Bernardo Bader Architekten Via ArchDaily Images via Bernardo Bader Architekten

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Blackened timber home draws energy from a large wood-burning stove

Green-roofed seaside cabins offer an off-grid getaway on a remote Swedish island

March 4, 2016 by  
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